The Flying Cholitas, Goddesses of the Ring

26 June 2010

Carmen Rosa und Julia la Paceña geben auf einem Schulhof eine Vorstellung für wohltätige Zwecke. Freistilringen oder lucha libre, ein ausgesprochen beliebter Zeitvertreib in Bolivien, war einst eine Domäne der Männer. Heute stehlen ihnen Cholitas, Frauen in traditionellen Röcken und runden Filzhüten der einheimischen Aymara- und Quechua-Frauen, die Show. Die einstudierten Kämpfe, ein teils komisches, teils episches Ringen zwischen guten und bösen Figuren, locken begeisterte Zuschauer an. Manche der Frauen treten sogar gegen männliche Gegner an.

La Paz, Bolivia
Carmen Rosa and Julia la Paceña perform at a charity show in a school courtyard. Freestyle wrestling, or lucha libre, one of the most popular entertainments in Bolivia, was once the domain of men only. Now cholitas, women wearing the traditional skirts and bowler hats of the indigenous Aymara and Quechua people, are making a mark. The choreographed tussles, part-comic, part-epic struggles between good and evil figures, attract enthusiastic audiences. Some of the women even take on their male counterparts.

Photographer's comment:
"I shot the cholitas in La Paz, Bolivia in 2010. The idea behind this project was to tell stories about three or four fighters, showing them in their daily life, while backstage and fighting. Carmen Rosa, who is 40 years old, is the founder of these women who fight almost every Sunday. She is extremely passionate about fighting and has dedicated years to gain the success she has now. Her motto is 'grace and elegance in free fighting'. I wanted to show the violence, but above all the grace. The traditional aymara dress (multi-layered skirts) have an important role in the process of reaffirmation of their identity as Bolivian and as women."

Carme Rosa y Julia la Paceña combaten en un acto benéfico en el patio de una escuela. La lucha libre, uno de los espectáculos más populares en Bolivia, fue en su día apta sólo para hombres. Hoy, las cholitas (mujeres en trajes típicos de las etnias indígenas aimara y quechua) dejan huella. Los combates coreografiados, en parte cómicos y por otra luchas épicas entre buenos y malos, atraen a un público entusiasta. Algunas mujeres incluso luchan con sus homólogos masculinos.

Carmen Rosa et Julia la Paceña lors d’un combat caritatif, dans une cour d’école. La lutte libre, ou lucha libre, l’un des passe-temps favoris des Boliviens, était autrefois réservée aux hommes. Aujourd’hui, les cholitas, des femmes en costumes et chapeaux ronds traditionnels des tribus indigènes Aymara et Quechua, se font remarquer sur les rings. Ces luttes, à la chorégraphie mi-comique mi-épique, opposent la « gentille » à la « méchante » et attirent un public enthousiaste ; certaines femmes n’hésitant pas à défier leurs collègues masculins.

Carmen Rosa e Julia la Paceña si esibiscono in uno spettacolo di beneficenza nel cortile di una scuola. La lotta libera o la lucha libre, uno degli spettacoli più popolari in Bolivia, una volta era di esclusivo dominio maschile. Ora le cholitas, donne che indossano le tradizionali gonne e i cappelli a bombetta degli indigeni Aymara e Quechua, stanno lasciando il segno. Le zuffe ben orchestrate, scontri in parte comici e in parte epici tra figure buone e cattive, attirano un pubblico entusiasta. Alcune delle donne affrontano persino le loro controparti maschili.

Carmen Rosa en Julia la Paceña in volle actie tijdens een liefdadigheidsevenement op een schoolplein. La lucha libre of worstelen vrije stijl is heel populair in Bolivia. Ooit namen alleen mannen aan deze vorm van vermaak deel, maar cholitas – vrouwen die de traditionele rok en dophoed van de inheemse Aymara en Quechua dragen – blazen nu ook hun partij. In gestileerde knokpartijen vechten goede en slechte personages hun zowel komische als heroïsche strijd uit, ten overstaan van een enthousiast publiek. Sommige vrouwen nemen het zelfs op tegen hun mannelijke tegenhangers.

Location

La Paz, Bolivia

Technical information

Shutter speed: 1/250 s
ISO: 200
F-Stop: f/11
Focal Length: 50 mm
Camera: Nikon D700

Lens: Nikon 24-70 mm lens

Lens: Nikon 70-200 mm lens

Lens: Nikon 50 mm lens

Flash: Flash sb900

Daniele Tamagni
Nationality:
Italy
About:
Daniele Tamagni is an Italian photographer, now based in Milan. His background is in art history, but he recently turned to dedicate himself completely to photography. Over the past few years he has begun to document African communities worldwide, from Africa itself to Peckham in London, undertaking specific projects focusing on culture, religion, music, fashion and art. He was a photographer for the exhibition-project Peckham Rising, in 2007, organized by cross-cultural curator Paul Goodwin at Tate Britain.

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