Aguilar. Former combatant. Guatemala
BEYOND THE WEAPONS (FIGHTERS) SERIES
A few years ago, Daniel Hernández-Salazar, under the protection of that ritual moment concluding the long Guatemalan war with the signature of the peace accords, managed to capture some of the last images of armed guerrillas in the midst of their camps in the jungle, awaiting their demobilization. Between then and now, these images suffered a long process of metamorphosis which flows into this series. The title the author assigns to it has a double connotation: it’s a reference to an anniversary (of the signing of the peace accords), but, also the result of a creative process which invites us to cross, in the final product, the borders of ideological discourses to return to the more humane and consistent practice of artistic interpretation and reinvention.
Saint-Exupery once said civil wars are internal wars and that, somehow, a person always fights them against him or herself. In a country like Guatemala, that never learned to spell the word war and avoided it under all sorts of euphemisms and slogans, learn to pronounce the word peace necessarily passes through the struggle, individual and collective of recognizing the other’s gaze and admit that there is in it a part of yourself that does not extinguishes even if it is denied. And who obliterates us much as we try to suppress it.
Arbitrate that struggle summarizes the artist’s mission as constructor of the future
Extracts from the text by Ruben Najera of October 20, 1999.
DANIEL HERNÁNDEZ SALAZAR (1956)
Lives and works in Guatemala.
Photographer. Knight of the Ordre Des Artes et des Lettres. Minister of Culture from France.
Daniel Hernández-Salazar initiated his passion on photography during his studies in Architecture. During the 1980’s Guatemalan civil war, he worked as photojournalist for international agencies such as Agence France Presse-AFP, Reuters and the Associated Press-AP. Hernández-Salazar presently works as an Independent Photographer, focusing his interest on the human body, architecture and historical memory—the last becoming his main topic of work and activism. Although he masters digital equipments and techniques, Daniel remains loyal to the practice of analogue photography and darkroom, which he has never abandoned.
His work has been presented in more than 30 solo exhibitions and more than 40 group shows in North, Central and South America, Europe, Japan and Korea. For his artistic work in service of Human Rights he received in 1998 the Jonathan Mann Humanitas Award from the International Association of Physicians in Aids Care, and was named Knight of the Ordre Des Artes et des Lettres by the French Government in 2005. Part of his oeuvre has been published in two personal anthologies by Kage Shobo, (Tokio, 2006) and University of Texas Press (Austin, 2007), and has been featured in a number of art, academic and news publications, including the New York Times LENS Blog, Harpers, 6Mois, among others.
Since November 2012, his work is included in the permanent collection of the Kazerne Dossin Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Mechelen, Belgium. He was curator and designer of his photo exhibition Genocide Dismissed, Guatemala a Silenced Tragedy presented at that Museum from Sept. 2014 until March 2015.
Since June 2015 Hernández_Salazar works on his photo project Guatemala se re(v)bela (Guatemala reveals/Revolts) which was presented in a big exhibition at Guatemala’s Aliance Francaise with great success.