I am a visual anthropologist and research scholar at Parsons from Ca’ Foscari University in venice. My involvement with Guatemala dates back to the year 1999/2000, when I was living in Guatemala in order to carry on the fieldwork for my Philosophy Degree thesis. I got there after meeting in Venice, my home town, a Q’ueqchi’ indigenous woman who had been fighting in the guerrilla. For one year I lived in Nebaj and in the CPR (Communities of People in Resistance), in the so-called Ixil area. During this period I interviewed about 60 Ixil women who had enrolled in the EGP (Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres). I was accompanied by a young and smart Ixil woman, Helena, who had been a guerrilla fighter herself and was at the time 16 years old. The ex-fighters explained to us the reasons why they decided to enroll in the guerrilla and recalled their experience as “guerrilleras”. While the main corpus of interviews was handed in to an indigenous NGO formed by ex indigenous guerrilla leaders (FUNDAMAYA) what has gradually caught my interest and became my main research topic has been the relationship between non-indigenous and indigenous guerrilla fighters inside the EGP, and also between men and women.
This experience has surely marked my life. Since then, despite I never went back to Guatemala, my focus of interest has been the space of relationship and encounter between indigenous and non-indigenous people, especially in Paraguay. As part of my PhD in visual anthropology, I made a documentary about the history of an indigenous community in Paraguay (Casado’s Legacy), that has toured around a variety of film festivals. My actual project is still focused in the same area, and it is related to the history of a tannin factory where indigenous and non-indigenous people have worked together for about 100 years.
I am still in contact with Helena and the ex-guerrilla leaders who work in FUNDAMAYA, and who are currently organizing an indigenous university in the Ixil area.