Iman Su Tiki

Female empowerment is not an individual movement, but a collective one. Especially for members of minority groups, such as indigenous Peruvian women, recognizing and treasuring one’s own culture is an act of resistance. Iman su tiki is Quechua for “what is your name” or “how are you called” – the first question to get to know someone. Our names are the first definition of who we are. While the festivity in Paucartambo gathered thousands of national tourists, in Huarahuara the celebration was meant for the local and surrounding communities. 

This photo essay was produced while I accompanied photographer and National Geographic Society grantee Armando Vega in part of his expedition to Peru. I have photographed women and girls during two festivities: the 90th anniversary of the indigenous village of Huarahuara, in the vicinity of Cusco; and the Virgen del Carmen festival in the city of Paucartambo. Two different examples of appreciation and celebration of the local community and culture.

Iman Su Tiki was featured in the Female Empowerment Photographic Exhibit held during Elas Festival 2019, in Belo Horizonte (Brazil).

Sonia Aime Huaman, 11, right, poses with her friends in traditional attire for the celebration.
A girl from Huarahuara in traditional attire during the celebration of the village's 90th anniversary.
A group of girls from Huarahuara wear traditional clothes for the local celebration.
A local girl poses inside her house in the indigenous village of Huarahuara wearing full traditional attire, as she prepares to take part in the celebration of the village's 90th anniversary.
Sonia Aime Huaman, 11, in her traditional attire, takes part in the celebration of Huarahuara's 90th anniversary.
A traditional dancer in the crowd, as her group prepares to take their part in the procession of the Virgen del Carmen in Paucartambo.
Locals in Paucartambo watch as the religious procession cruises the streets of the city.
A group of traditional dancers wait for their turn to enter the Sanctuary of the Virgen del Carmen as part of the procession in Paucartambo.