Photographer Martín Chambi’s work is declared National Cultural Heritage

Peru’s Ministry of Culture has declared that the work produced by photographer Martín Jerónimo Chambi Jiménez will henceforth be considered Cultural Heritage of the Nation, highlighting its “significant contribution to the registry, valuing, and dissemination of Peru’s intangible Andean cultural heritage.”

The Vice-Ministral Resolution N° 188-2019-VMPCIC-MC, published on the 5th of November, 2019, in the Legal Norms section of the Official El Peruano bulletin, also highlights the significant artistic value of Martín Chambi’s work.

It was on this very date, November 5th 2019 – the 128-year anniversary of the Peruvian photographers day of birth in the city of Puno– that Martín Chambi’s work was officially recognized.

In the regulation statement, the Cultural Heritage General Management recommended declaring the photographic work of Martín Jerónimo Chambi Jiménez Cultural Heritage of the Nation, in the category of Grand Master’s Work.

The General Directorate of Cultural Industries and Arts issued a favorable opinion on the Declaration of the Photographic Work of Martin Chambi, highlighting its artistic value and significant contribution to the development of Peru's photographic art, both at national and international level

“Martín Chambi is declared one of the most important Peruvian exponents in the documental photography realm, after registering innumerable Andean cultural manifestations - themselves intangible heritage – and shared them in written communication media on both a national and international scale,” states the norm.

Martín Chambi stood out as a promoter of Andean intangible cultural heritage, based on the registration of expressions and cultural practices that were typical of Cusco and other southern Andean regions of Peru.

During his career, Chambi documented numerous festivities across Cusco, the most representative of which was the Qoyllur Riti Festival – a pilgrimage in which thousands of Andean residents make their way up the mountains towards the peak of the Ausangate Mountain, in order to pay homage to the Señor de Qoyllur Riti.

Born in Puno, the photographer studied the art of photography in Arequipa, subsequently establishing himself in Cusco. While in Cusco, he worked as a photojournalist for local newspapers and national magazines, like Variedades. He also collaborated with publications from the United States and Argentina.

Through his work, Chambi portrayed the indigenous people of the Andes as serene, happy, free, and vital. His work continues to stand out due to its high documentary level, as well as for its black-and-white aesthetic. His noteworthy work spans the fields of photojournalism, studio portraits, landscapes, villages, customs, monuments, folk festivals, and archaeological and religious precincts.

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