My photographs try to depict Guatemala that is both painful and endearing: Guatemala that inspires me to be curious, to question and break down my Creole woman paradigms.
I was invited to photograph a group of Kaqlá (rainbow) Mayan women. The photo session started with a prayer, invoking the elements and inviting the spirits of wise grandmothers to accompany us.
Then the women took off their beautifully hand-woven clothes, created with incomparable pride. Each outfit was different and reflected their village of origin. Right before me, they first donned and then took off these clothes they had inherited from their ancestors.
Each outfit is loaded with meaning: some speak of slavery imposed by the Spanish conquerors, others are the primary means of expression for these women. These clothes are also why they are discriminated in public.
Many women refuse to wear these outfits because they are viewed as inferior by the rest of society. Other women wear them as a means of resistance towards changing times. Now only women wear traditional outfits; most men, with the exception of few elders, don't anymore.
Their outfit is their pride and their prison. It's their identity as well as their burden.
That day, I accompanied them in their pain and laughter. We danced, cried, and constructed thousands of photos for the "Mayan Women" series. Later when we looked at the photos together, I realized that I was jealous of not being born among them.