Los Rituales Del Reencuentro

The naked human body has life and force of its own. It will never cease to arise our deepest emotions, being as natural as any other living creature.

We have painted, tattooed, and deformed our bodies to commemorate different stages and circumstances in our lives. In some cases this practice has taken deep roots in our cultures, these ceremonies give us identity and certainty.

We also communicate through these rituals. Our bodies speak and our minds dream of a better future. This is one of humanity’s most beautiful and interesting artistic expressions.

Long ago, shamans arranged ceremonies to secure the well-being of their community, by offering tribute to the natural world. In these rituals, the participants play a very important roll, sometimes painting themselves, other times dancing or holding hands. Today, we have forgotten that deep connection with nature. We no longer value the air, the water and the food that we take from our planet.

I have used photography as a tool to communicate important environmental problems. In the organizations I support and work for, we launch campaigns to protect endangered species such as jaguar, quetzal, and the vaquita porpoise; we produce books, sculptures, paintings, exhibitions, prints and stamps; and we organize expeditions with professional photographers to create awareness about species and their habitat.

More and more professionals have joined this quest, but photographic images have lost their power. In these days of global communication through the internet we face so much information and so much heart-breaking news that we have become immune. Images of lost species and habitat fragmentation no longer have the same impact, it is like consciousness amnesia.

For 25 years, I have fought in the environmental trenches, helping government, scientific, corporate and conservation leaders to agree on the conservation of wilderness and biodiversity. Today I realize that the battles we have won are fleeting and those that we have lost, have been lost forever. I needed to change my approach. I am, in essence, an artist. For that reason, I’m using the experience gained through all those years to build a new speech and dialogue through the arts. I named this project Los Rituales del Reencuentro (the reencounter rituals). It includes over 25 pieces of art that use the human body as canvas and sculpture to exhibit environmental issues related to endangered animals. This fleeting art form is captured by the camera and transformed into pieces to be presented to societies worldwide.

This idea was conceived after years of searching for different ways to communicate more efficiently on topics related to the natural world; it began in 2009 at the 9th World Wilderness Congress (Wild9) in Merida, Yucatan. For that occasion, I invited famous painters and photographers to present different visions of nature, using the power of the naked bodies of both men and women. Two years later, I was invited to coordinate a similar exercise at a very unique art festival—MareArte—in La Paz, Baja California Sur. In the meantime, I worked on other pieces addressing environmental issues such as habitat fragmentation, shrimp industry bycatch, and shark finning, among many others. Now, some of the species that I used to photograph in earlier campaigns have gained a new voice.

On October 15, 2011, The Human Blue Whale was created. The ritual began early that morning; the warm waters of the Espiritu Santo island welcomed the participants from 12 different nations. Late in the afternoon, a large silhouette of a 28 meter long female blue whale was formed with the bodies of 59 women. There was only one language; silently they all spoke on behalf of nature. By doing this, the 59 women reencountered themselves acquireing a common identity: now they all belong to the clan of the blue whale.

Other Works

Wild 9 » Merida 2009

Marearte » La Paz 2011