For over 30 years, Martín Alvarado Gamarra has traveled across our country documenting with his camera different ways of life, festivities, characters, dances, music and traditions. A fundamental reason of his work is to make visible the Afro-Peruvian presence in our country, and to contribute, through his extensive photographic work, to the knowledge and preservation of their cultural and collective memory. Martín Alvarado, has built the largest photographic archive of the Afro-descendant heritage in the country.
His exhibition DIA 100, inaugurated in 2017, exposed a hundred Peruvians who are proud of their African descent, and expressed with their own words their feelings about discrimination, racism and stereotypes that persist in our society and continue to stigmatize them. The exhibition was inaugurated in the context of International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2025) proclaimed by the UN, and the Afro-Peruvian Culture Month, celebrated every year in June, since 2014.
As an Afro-Peruvian, the artist suffered raw prejudice. His images are visual testimonies that aims to promote respect, equality and recognition of Afro-Peruvian identity, presence and cultural legacy.
“DIA 100 was named for International Decade for People of African Descent, and the number 100 represents the number of people who have been photographed. The project's starting point is showing Afro-Peruvians continuing contribution to our country; also, this project exhibits the high number of African descent fighters and professionals; and it breaks the stereotype that Afro-Peruvian can only be dancers, athletes or chefs. In addition, DIA 100 aims to recognize that Afro-professionals can be an inspiration, and how their actions can educate people to continue working to eradicate racism”.
"DIA 100 features stories of Africa-descent men, women, girls, boys, adolescents and young people, adopting a cross-cutting approach in Peru; it intends to make visible and recognize all those who live in exclusion, racism and discrimination, those people who are constantly denigrate and classify; and, it shows that physical and psychological violence is exercised by the ethnic-racial condition of a human being".
“Afro-Peruvian people are a vulnerable and invisible population, that were unjustly marked with slavery and human trafficking. This project was supported by Public Policies for the Afro-Peruvian Population Office of the Vice Ministry of Interculturality, from Ministry of Culture of Peru; also, it was supported by Afro-Peruvians beautiful histories, that help to demystify, make visible and fight against the ethnic-racial discrimination of the Afro-Peruvian people”.
Martín Alvarado began his career as a sports photographer; after that he became a graphic editor for the newspapers El Sol, El Comercio, Correo and La República. Since 2000, he is producer of television program Costumbres (Customs), a platform that has documented living culture in many Peruvian provinces. As a result of this work, in 2005 he presented the exhibition "Este es mi cariño" ("This is my love"), which exposed 87 photographs taken during the first five years of the program's broadcast.
His photographic work has been presented in various individual and group exhibitions, and compiled in various publications, such as Sonaly Tuesta's Fiestas, calendario y costumbres (Festivities, Calendar and Customs) (2010) and his own book Marcados de Fiesta (2015). His art has been shown at Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Spain, France and China.
In Afroperuanos (2009), Alvarado featured images of music and sports figures, such as Amador Ballumbrosio or soccer player Sandro Baylón; this work explores religiosity in Afro-Peruvian Mass in Lima; and captures traditional dances, such as "Hatajo de Negritos" and "Las Pallitas" from El Carmen (Ica) or "dance of the Negritos from Zaña" (Piura). In this exhibition, he also aims to make visible other spaces conquered by Afro-Peruvians, such as politics, science or academia, thus denouncing the classifications of a system that recognizes them only to certain trades or practices. His next exhibition, Afro-Peruvian Women (2011), featured women portraits who succeed as entrepreneurs, businesswomen, artists, models and health professionals, all of them are a valuable example of capacity, improvement and contribution to development of the country.
Thanks to his art and his work in favor of Afro-Peruvian culture, he has received different distinctions, like "Award for Excellence in Photography" by Harvard University in 2014 and "Meritorious Personality of the Culture”, granted by the Ministry of Culture in 2015. In 2021 he directed and produced the documentary Josef: el inicio de una historia (Josef: the beginning of a story).
MARTÍN ALVARADO'S ARTISTIC
Martin Alvarado. Photographer and audiovisual producer