Fotografía indígena en el Instituto Cultural Cabañas

cabañas(Guadalajara, Jal.) Como parte de las actividades del Festival Cultural de Mayo, desde mediados de ese mes y hasta el último día de junio pasado, el Instituto Cultural Cabañas de Guadalajara contó con la presencia de dos exposiciones fotográficas dedicadas a los pueblos indígenas que habitan en distintas regiones de nuestro país: Carl Lumholtz, un explorador del siglo XIX y México: un siglo de fotografía indígena, ambas muestras itinerantes montadas por la Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CDI).

La primera, como el título lo dice, expone el trabajo fotográfico del antropólogo (también zoólogo, botánico y geógrafo) noruego realizado en su expedición a México, donde permaneció prácticamente toda la década de 1890. Durante toda su vida, Lumholtz visitó las regiones más inhóspitas del planeta con la intención de conocer a fondo las costumbres y tradiciones de los pueblos originarios, así como el ecosistema en el que estos se desarrollaban. En nuestro país, realizó extensos estudios sobre la flora y fauna de los estados de Durango, Nayarit, Sinaloa y Sonora (incluso una conífera mexicana—pinus lumholtzii—fue bautizada en honor a la labor del explorador nórdico. Así mismo, y quizás es lo que más destaca de las fotografías presentadas, Lumholtz dedicó su labor etnográfica a los pueblos del noreste y occidente del país, culturas que han recibido poca atención por la mayoría de los interesados en las civilizaciones mesoamericanas, así como por el indigenismo oficial.

El noruego convivió con coras, tepehuanos, tarahumaras y huicholes en los actuales Durango, Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit y el norte de Jalisco. En este último estado también pasó tiempo con los nahuas, para después viajar más al sur y estudiar a los purépechas michoacanos. En las imágenes que nos lega sobre estos pueblos, el espectador no encontrará la búsqueda por algún ideal estético o metafísico de la realidad indígena. Por el contrario, la labor de Lumholtz se muestra con la única y sincera intención de documentar imparcialmente los modos de vida y tradiciones de las distintas culturas. Ya fuera por medio de retratos—individuales o colectivos—paisajes, o fotografías que mostraban la rudimentaria arquitectura de estos grupos, lo que esta exposición muestra no es tanto material artístico sino científico. Al final, frente al México desconocido (así se llamó la publicación de Lumholtz que conjuntó sus experiencias en nuestro país) que el noruego se atrevió a descubrir y mostrar en estas fotografías, pero que permanece todavía tan oculto para muchos de nosotros, Carl Lumholtz, explorador… es una exposición imprescindible para todo ciudadano mexicano.

Y es el mismo caso para Un siglo de fotografía indígena. Ésta última fue realizada en 1989, mostrando la visión que de los pueblos originarios han tenido los fotógrafos mexicanos—y algunos extranjeros—así como de su lugar dentro de la realidad mexicana. Dividida en cuatro secciones (“épocas”), el espectador podrá observar como las tendencias fotográficas y su evolución a lo largo del siglo XX se enfrentaron frente al tema de lo indígena y su relación con el “todo” mexicano.

La primera época refiere a los últimos años del siglo XIX y al humor artístico y social que permeaba en el porfiriato. En un país cegado por el ideal del progreso y la modernidad, no había lugar para los indígenas y sus costumbres, por lo que las imágenes lo retratan en escenarios burgueses, buscando esconder hasta donde sea posible todo vestigio del ser original. En la segunda, se revalora al indígena como actor fundamental durante el periodo revolucionario y como bastión del nacionalismo intransigente, opositor a todo lo extranjero, que estuvo tan en boga durante los años de la lucha armada. El tercer periodo se refiere a los años de construcción del nuevo estado nacional (1920-1940), donde el elemento indígena se vuelve un componente fundamental del alma mexicana que la Revolución institucionalizada busca encontrar como base para el proyecto nacional. Así mismo, comienza una tendencia hacia el kitsch indígena, marcado por un superficial interés en el folclor y la artesanía autóctona. Finalmente, la cuarta época, que abarca las décadas de 1940 hasta la de 1980, donde la aproximación hacia lo indígena intenta ya no darse en un sentido tan paternalista, sino que trata de incorporar las cosmovisiones indígenas en los procesos de construcción de las imágenes que representaran a estas colectividades frente al “todo” nacional.

Está claro que las épocas presentadas en México: un siglo… no tienen límites claros, sino que se traslapan constantemente y comparten algunos elementos. En el fondo, la idea es demostrar las distintas maneras en las que la cultura mexicana se ha aproximado a los pueblos indígenas, siempre como “el otro”.

En 1924, Antonio Caso advirtió la urgencia de que México resolviera su problema antropológico, racial y espiritual, si es que quería dejar de ser una de las democracias más imperfectas de la tierra. Hoy, casi un siglo después, parece que los mexicanos no hemos sabido resolver ese problema, por lo que la sentencia de Caso mantiene su vigencia. Así pues, trabajos como los presentados en estas dos exposiciones incluyen material que bien podrá servir como punto de partida para la muy necesaria reflexión sobre la situación y el lugar que deben ocupar los pueblos originarios, tanto en el imaginario, como en la realidad nacional contemporánea.

RL

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