Master weaver Edwin Sulca of Ayacucho Peru creates tapestries rich in the legacy of the Andean cultural traditions. for more than 20 years
the people of Ayacucho endured the terrorism of the the Sendero Luminoso, birthed in the small mountain town, and later the goernment
troops sent to battle the terrorists.
Sulca, wove the histories of his people in his tapestries. When we met in his hometown more than 15 years ago he just began to speak about the meanings of his tapestires, his hopes and dreams for his people, and for universal peace.
Recently I visited Sulca and interviewed him about his creativity, his work, and his life. This is a short audio clip where he is
speaking about his most famous piece, “El Viento,” The Wind.
“I wish to be like the wind that runs over the continents, and drags all evils, and smashes them against the rocks. I wish to be the brother who gives his hand to the fallen one, and , strongly embraced, seeks the peace of the world.’
Multicultural diversity has formed me. From childhood within a United Nations community in New York City, to covering civil unrest in Central America and living and working in Thailand and Peru, I find it natural to relate to people of many cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, and beliefs.
Although I began with “hard news” photojournalism, my strength today focuses on in-depth features.
I take the time to research a social issue, whether it is Americans struggling with racism or rural poverty, Peruvians or Burmese surviving civil strife, or people worldwide living their beliefs with integrity in a changing world.
Rather than do a quick in-out interview and photos, I take time to get to know the people I’m interviewing, photographing, or filming–time to establish trust and to really hear their stories– time to sensitively portray how they overcome adversity.
Time to put a person’s face to mind-numbing statistics.
I seek out people who are traditionally marginalized, “voiceless;” often people find a voice as they tell their story. This could be homeless senior citizens, “at-risk” teenagers, a Peruvian weaver who could only “tell” the story of his people at war through his tapestries, or Afro-American elders who know the effects of subtle racism.
Most people are grateful whenever someone not only listens to their inner truth but also portrays their inherent dignity.
Although I work with visual stories and audio stories, I believe multimedia documentaries are the most powerful means of presenting a narrative. Integrating visual images, animation, video footage, interviews, and music surpasses linear text.
Recently I trained a group of racially mixed young teenagers how to interview each other and their elders about a difficult social issue: racism. Students, who were struggling academically, benefitted from this non-linear way of learning and relating to others.
Multimedia documentaries can educate, move, and inspire us in ways traditional text cannot.
I create compelling authentic narratives that give voice to the “voiceless,” move viewers, and inspire social change.