Silence of Dawn
“To migrate is like the silence I can hear when I can’t sleep at dawn. That silence when you know that the sun is rising but cannot see it yet, and you are waiting for light in the middle of the darkness.” Yenifer Duran, 20, in Lima, Peru
Between January and June 2021 I collaborated with Venezuelan women migrants who live in Lima, Peru. I wanted to show what happened to their inner world after they arrived, how they perceived themselves within the patriarchal and hierarchical society of Lima and to convey the psychological experience of being displaced. I was visually inspired by their stories and their memories and photographed the objects and spaces that stirred emotions within their often transient spaces. From a t-shirt as a reminder of mum, a physical scar with the words that had become ingrained in their skin to past experiences turned into nightmares.
In Peru, Venezuelan women experience criminalizing xenophobia differently to men. Through stereotypes perpetrated by national media, men are perceived as murderers and thieves while women are stereotyped as desperate for money, as potential sex-workers and without many skills. Women that had previously experienced a middle class life, were being forced to take jobs that did not align with their experience and capabilities. This has casted women into informal, precarious, feminized and racialized work.
Peru is the second country in the world with the highest population of Venezuelan forced migrants after Colombia. By 2018 in Peru, 58% were women and by 2019 most were under the age of 30 (UNHCR). Many of whom work informal jobs, were paid below minimum wage ($250/month) and encountered barriers for pursuing any form of education. Around 5 million Venezuelan migrants live within Latin America, with over 6 million displaced worldwide. In Latin America, only Brazil and Mexico recognize Venezuelans as refugees. Despite UN recommendations, Peru does not.
Daniela Rivera Antara
Daniela (b.1996) was born in Peru and raised between Lima and Australia. She focuses her work on socio-cultural issues on gender and social justice through emotions and sensations conveyed visually. Daniela’s interests are within post conflict, inequality and displacement with a personal fascination on the complexities of identity and how memory influences youth, culture and history. Daniela graduated from NYU in Fine Art and Comparative Literature on Politics and Post-colonialism. Daniela’s work has appeared in The Guardian, the Washington Post, the Harvard Review of Latin America and others. She participated in the Eddie Adams Workshop, was awarded a Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship and was part of the Women Photograph 2021 Mentorship cohort.
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