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Nomadarte From Mexico to Patagonia

Cynthia Gámez and Gustavo Alonso are two Mexican photographers that enjoy travelling and working with kids. Along with their personal projects, Nomadarte came to being as a life proposal that combines their passions and sets out to be a new narrative for Latin America.

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Límulus [L]: How did the idea of Nomadarte come about?

Nomadarte [N]: It all began in 2011. We’ve always loved travelling, we had been doing it separately and to different countries but I (Cynthia) had always dreamt of driving through the entire continent. When I told Gus about it, he told me he supported me and that we should do it. We started planning everything, getting the car, researching the route and trying to find a more social goal for it: we’re both photographers and based on our know-how we did the photography workshops for children. Before the trip we did four workshops in San Luis Potosí and with time, we improved the activities and on a trial and error basis, found the formula for kids to learn and enjoy this art.

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Photo by Emilia. Zinacantán, Chiapas.

L: What is Nomadarte about?

N: We travelled from Mexico to Patagonia in a VW 97. As a personal goal, we photographed the entire route and made a video with the most iconic places of every country, capturing their essence. The most important part of Nomadarte is the photography workshops for kids. What we do is, we find a community, and depending on the resources we have, we do 1 or 2 workshops. The kids take a camera home and the next day they bring it back and with the result we do an exhibition of our young photographers’ work. In Panama, we started doing stop motion workshops and we’ve already done three out of which great expectations have sprung: to be able to make a movie with the cooperation of all the children of South America.

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L: What are the results of the workshops?

N: They’re spectacular, each photograph takes us into their world and their reality, we’ve met children with great talent who take breathtaking pictures.

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Photo by Netzahualpilli. Caballo Rucio, Oaxaca.

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Photo by Elvia. Guatemala.

L: What countries have you visited with the project and what has your experience been like?

N: We’ve been to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. We’ve done workshops in Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama. When we get back to Colombia in January, we already have two workshops scheduled. Being with kids from different countries has greatly improved the technique of the workshop, it’s been a great challenge because many of them have their own language besides Spanish and that complicates communication. The most complicated one was in Belize because they only speak English there and the Garifuna community we were in didn’t speak it very well, which made communicating with children very difficult. But, in the end, art speaks for itself: their photographs have been some of the best we’ve seen.

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Photo by Emilia. Zinacantán, Chiapas.

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Photo by Dulce. Charcas, San Luis Potosí.

L: How do you choose your route?

N: We had something planned initially with places that we simply couldn’t miss, but as we travelled on we realized that planning is the last thing you should do on such a long trip… you have to let it flow… and with that mindset we got to places we’d never imagined.

L: How do you see yourselves in a year? And in a more distant future?

N: In a year, we hope to be in Patagonia with well-accomplished goals regarding the workshops and ready to go back to Mexico to do something bigger with everything we’ve learned. In a more distant future, we want to continue with Nomadarte, focusing on art with kids and establish a production company to make personal projects. The boost this trip is creating gives us the confidence to do great things once we settle down.

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Photo by Josué. Dangriga, Belice.

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Photo by Myesha. Dangriga, Belice.

L: Could you share an anecdote where you experienced a gratifying moment?

N: We’ve had so many amazing experiences that have definitely changed our perspective of the world: from finding angels along the way who literally have fixed our car when it broke down in the middle of the highway, to women from very low-income communities who shared the little food they had with us. In Belize a couple saw us parked in the middle of the night, they came up to us and asked if we needed anything and we said we were just going to spend the night there and leave the next day; without doubting it, they told us that that would not be possible, that we had to go to their house because they had place for us there. In Panama we had little money left and we were trying to find a job to save up, and we met these guys who loved our project and that same day offered us to live with them. They became our family and we worked with them for 6 months.

L: With the experience you’ve gotten, how have you modified your motivations in relation to the original idea?

N: The main motivation is still the same: to bring children who’ve never held a camera together, to experience a workshop where they graduate as young photographers. When we started with the stop motion workshop a new motivation sprung to create a short film with the children’s participation. Every result we see, every workshop we finish, gives us the strength to do a lot more.

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Photo by Paco. Zinacantán, Chiapas.

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Photo by Reynaldo. Zinacantán, Chiapas.

L: What is the importance of teaching children photography and stop motion?

N: Most assuredly, to bring them closer to art; regarding stop motion specifically, the most important part is to develop their imagination, and with photography, it’s about teaching them to closely observe what we have around us.

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Photo by Ronel. Dangriga, Belice.

L: What have you learned about yourselves during this year and a half of the project?

N: That we are strong, that we’ve overcome fear in many occasions, that we’re capable of doing things in life that we’d never thought we could, that we can go as far as we want just by setting our minds to it, and, most importantly, we’ve learned to trust our instincts.

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