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Ben’n Yalhalhj / Soy de Yalálag / I’m from Yalalag

The last years I’ve been documenting the Yalaltec communities based in different locations in Mexico: in Oaxaca city, in Mexico City. And also in our community of origin, Yalalag, in the Oaxacan North Sierra. Yalaltec culture is part of zapotec ethnic group from Oaxaca state. I started this project as a way to dialogue with my grandmother (a native zapotec speaker) creating our own language thru images. To me, this represented a way to understand better the culture I came from, but most important it was the opportunity to know her and her worldview. I truly think there is no linear story, but that all angles offer us different points of view. In order to appreciate cultures from a meaningful place, especially native cultures, we need to have the chance to talk about ourselves and be seen from our own human stories.

Our culture is not static, it transforms and migrates, it is always in movement. As I had been able to testify. In this sense this project aims to document how our Yalaltec identity is shaped, no matter where we were born or raised, our community embrace us and keep us connected to our roots making our essence survives over time and territories. 

Feature at NY Times Lens Blog https://nyti.ms/2Z3m1BR