Smetz'ul buch'u lok'el xjoket xni' chvaye (How to Cure Someone Who Snores a Lot)

Maruch Sántiz Gómez

San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico, 1975
  • Series: 
    Creencias (Beliefs)
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    Image: 15,7 x 23,5 cm
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Buchu'u lok'el xjoket sni' chvaye, chich' pak'bel varachil ta sni' ak'alal ochem svayele, mi mo'oje chich' tik'bel sne utz'utz'ni'. Mi jech yich' pasbele mu xa xjoketaj o sni', ja' ti xchechluj ta xi'el ak'alal chjulav ti va'i s'elan chich' sibtasele.
If someone snores a lot, you can hit him lightly on the nose with a sandal or insert a little lizard’s tail up one nostril. By doing either of these things, that person will not snore again, because he will have to jump up awake.

The Chiapas Photography Project, an initiative by the American-born Carlota Duarte and in collaboration with Sna Jtz’ibajom (The House of the Writer) in San Cristóbal de las Casas, enabled indigenous artists like Maruch Sántiz Gómez to employ photography as a means of creative expression. Sántiz Gómez’s first project, Creencias de nuestros antepasados (The Beliefs of Our Ancestors), which she started in 1994, seeks to document and compile the traditions of the Tzotzil people, traditions which the elders have endeavoured to pass on and the younger generations are losing. Consequently, Sántiz Gómez travelled to different locations in Chiapas to talk with the eldest inhabitants, and, subsequently, via images first in black-and-white and later in colour, she used a minimalist aesthetic to photograph the objects and animals these beliefs referred to and also recreated their family environment. The photographs are accompanied by a text in Tzotzil with translations in Spanish and English, thus prompting the consideration that both elements are consubstantial and inseparable from the project Beliefs, which is why some critics have placed Sántiz Gómez’s work within the parameters of the conceptual, as well as pointing to her ability to update visual and oral traditions by virtue of photography and iconography. Despite a favourable reception, Beliefs has also given rise to debates around indigenous art in Mexico and its idealisation among critics.

Diego Fraile Gómez