© Paz Errázuriz, 2022
Most of Paz Errázuriz’s work narrates some aspect of the history of Chile removed from the hegemonic discourse offered by the official governmental narrative. In Nómadas del mar [Nomads of the Sea] she focuses on the kawésqar, an ethnic group who live in the southernmost region of the Chilean Patagonia and who are on the verge of extinction. When she began her research on this community, the photographer discovered that there was barely any information available; she only found studies undertaken in the early 20th century by an Austrian anthropologist priest. Errázuriz’s work underlines the policies of segregation deployed in the country, which were particularly oppressive against a range of indigenous ethnic groups.
The photographer traveled to the area on several occasions between 1994 and 2002 establishing a relationship of trust with the people she portrayed, as can be observed in this image. Atap. Ester Edén is one of the photographs she made in 1995 which was included in the photobook Kawésqar, hijos de la mujer sol [Kawésqar, Children of the Sun Woman]. The image depicts a peaceful scene: in the background, a mountainous landscape, and in the foreground, a woman on a boat holding a bunch of reeds in her arms. Used to make baskets, these plants are essential for the community since, along with cholga (Magellan Mussel) harvesting, they represent one of the main sources of income for the kawésqar.