Beautiful colours, garments, dances and choirs.
But also inequality, racism, diseases, and global warming.
The NATIVO Project is a comprehensive study that aims to tell the full story about Panama’s 7 indigenous nationalities. Their traditions, their lives, their challenges and achievements.
NATIVO PROJECT seeks to intervene the spectator's perspective and consciousness by presenting a profound gaze at the lives inside the indigenous regions, whilst constituting a visual-investigative tool for social sciences and cultural studies in Panama and across the world.
Nativo is a word that, through time, has been subject of misuse or misinterpretation by mainstream society. It is a word often used with a disrespectful negative bias that implies 'less developed' or 'less capable'. We intend to change that bringing back what 'Nativo' truly means: original from a place or region. Simply put, these are Panama's Original Societies.
Nativo Project starts as with a spark of curiosity for knowing the reality about a community located on the outskirts of Panama City. A group of individuals than still today remains fighting against inequality and to improve their living conditions. Know more about NATIVO's origins.
We have started travelling across Panama and visited the three biggest communities in terms of territory and population. Each of these communities keep their own traditions and care deeply about their own culture, but each community is also facing critical issues and threats that need to be solved.
As photographers we cannot directly change their conditions for the better, but we can and must shed a light on their situation, raise awareness and inspire other to take action for a positive impact on their societies.
We will do so by visiting all seven communities in Panama in order to generate:
1) a compelling book
2) roaming exhibitions worldwide
3) a film and a documentary series
Support NATIVO Project
There are various ways in which you and your network are invited to participate.
Buy a Print
By purchasing one or more of our prints you are becoming a direct ambassador of the Nativo Project, as it helps us cover the costs of the different Project phases.
Become a Partner
We are looking for partners. Wether at government, NGO, or at private sector level. Please contact us to learn more on how to sponsor the NATIVO Project.
The Kuna (Guna)
The Kunas are the second largest group in the country. They currently face situations like the overflow in tourism and the language preservation on the official school system, but their main issue might be the rising of the sea level due to global warming is forcing them to completely rethink the way the live.
By far the most populated of all 7 indigenous communities. The Ngäbes are fighting for preserving their culture and their environment in an ever-more 'westernized' society and multinational corporations. At the same time when they struggle with health problems like diabetes and HIV.
Mostly located on the Emberá-Wounaan shire, they face negligence from local authorities for basic infrastructure like roads, schools and health systems. Their other settlements closer to the capital also have the challenge of making a living out of tourism at the same time they try to preserve their values and traditions.