Santiago: A Peruvian Perspective

The everyday challenge of building a new life in a foreign city is something all newcomers to Santiago can relate to. The Peruvian community continues to thrive here in a new environment in spite of often tough working conditions, discrimination and the inevitable sense of initial displacement.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Danny Alveal

Photographer Danny Alveal documents Peruvian life in Santiago in Santiago a la peruana at Estacion Mapocho until October 4.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Danny Alveal

Through intimate, sometimes melancholy, day-to-day scenes, Alveal emotively communicates the immigrant struggle.

"They lead a normal life, the only difference is that they are far away from their country, and that makes it much harder. Discrimination against Peruvians is common in Chile, but in general their way of life is the same as Chileans," says Alveal.

Among the images of daily life, bold pictures of traditional dances, ceremonies and festivals held here speak to the desire of the community to preserve some sense of their cultural heritage in the midst of the urban melee of Santiago.

“They keep living here with their own traditions... they try to teach them to their children. Actually, I think it is very emotional," Alveal says.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Danny Alveal

The exhibition is the result of two years working on the project, and the photographer hopes in some way the photos present a more humanized image of immigrants, breaking down some prevailing negative stereotypes.

"I would like people who judge immigrants based upon a bad minority to apologize; I believe that putting all the immigrants in one group is definitely selfish; I wish there was more tolerance from those who have prejudices because of what they see on TV or what they are told by others," he says.

The exhibition is in its last day at Estacion Mapocho — well worth a look for a deeper insight into another side of life in Santiago.

Santiago a la peruana
Until Sunday 4 October 2009
Sala Joaqin Edwards Bello
Centro Cultural Estacion Mapocho
Plaza de la Cultura (Metro Cal y Canto)

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