Wara Vargas Lara is a Bolivian photographer based in La Paz. She studied Communications Sciences and majored in Press Photography at the José Martí International Journalism Institute in Cuba. For the last 15 years, Wara has worked as a photojournalist for various media outlets in Bolivia. She has exhibited in her homeland and taken place in a number of collective shows in Germany, New York, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina.
“In Latin American history, white women who fit western standards of beauty have been used as muses by artists. Indigenous muses are almost never featured in art in its various forms. Instead, the indigenous woman has mainly been relegated to the figure of the servant. The women in Polleras, a traditional garb used by the indigenous Bolivian women who are also known as “Cholas”, have been discriminated against for many centuries by the same society that preferred white muses as references for beauty. This photography series seeks to reclaim that space and have these women in Polleras be centre stage, muses who inspire the rupture of pre-established schema. These are strong women who, day in and day out, fight for their rights in different spheres of Bolivian society”.
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All images copyright Wara Vargas Lara.