The New York Times published an article featuring a Peruvian-born photographer who captured two years of life in the mining contaminated city of Cerro de Pasco of the Peruvian Andes.
Photographer Paccarik Orue moved to Miami from Lima after turning 17 in 1993 and took up photography. He decided to spend some time taking pictures of the city with a long history of contamination, oppression, and persistence. He was fascinated by the residents’ ability to endure the effects of the mile-wide pit and still preserve a strong connection to its culture.
One such focus he took was on a character of folk tales often performed by children and adults in festivals. He recorded a ghoulish character, known as El Muqui, who has taken on multiple roles in the city’s culture, such as a wandering miner, a source of comic relief, or even a wise figure.
Orue told The New York Times, [t]here is a beautiful contrast of environmental disaster and rich tradition. I was intrigued by how both coexist.
Unfortunately, efforts made by the Peruvian government have dwindled and the people are left with few options: to stay and endure the crippling contamination, or sell their land to the mining company.
Orue reflects in the article, the mining does not only put the environment at risk…It also risks losing this amazing culture that is present. Mining causes contamination of the water and air, causing many citizens to leave.
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