Abya Yala: The Story Behind the Photos

Photo by Beatriz Lopez

On this week's cover, Austin band Nemegata is gathered in a tableaux bursting with color and embedded meaning.

Musician Víctor-Andrés Cruz explains, "Here identity, ethnicity, diversity, and ancestral symbolism came together in an artistic narrative.

"Latin America – or as we now call it, 'Abya Yala' – is a constant act of resistance to the Western world. Every second. Our wealth is our ancestral heritage and our connection to our territories as communities. This is a gesture to express that no matter what happens, or what we go through, we are still connected to our origins, and we acknowledge this with pride."

Photographer Beatriz Lopez, who is also married to Cruz, expounds on the concept:

"For me, it was important to create a work that blended a form of magical realism with a distinctive color palette and an empowering perspective of the elements of their cultures while maintaining their ethnic identity. I aimed to develop a visual vocabulary to translate what is so unique about our territories and cultures, using sacred plants like corn and tobacco. Additionally, I incorporated the machete, which has been a companion to our hardworking communities in their struggles.

"The photo features a color palette where yellow is predominantly highlighted, symbolizing wealth, abundance, and the historical legacy of our ancestors. Subtly, colors from the Colombian flag are also used in the attire of the members of Nemegata, who are standing barefoot firmly on the ground, deeply rooted.

"This is also a representation of a new intergenerational collective consciousness that claims its roots to continue writing its own history and its own version of the future."

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