MEMORY SERIES (Documentary photography)
Daniel Hernández-Salazar (b. 1956, Guatemala) is an artist and activist who has made it his life’s mission to document the effects of Guatemala’s genocide through his powerful, personal approach toward his country’s human rights catastrophe. For over 20 years, he has produced a riveting and urgent body of work that asks viewers to engage with the aftermath of terrible violence. This was genocide waged in shadow, many of its worst crimes carried out against a historically excluded people in the country’s remote rural highlands, where reporters rarely ventured. The extreme cruelty of the Army’s tactics uprooted whole communities, scattering those who escaped, and imposing a silence born of fear for years afterwards.
But Daniel focuses on the strength that blooms within a society determined to survive and thrive. His work insists on the recovery of historical memory: an act dedicated to life, to bringing atrocities out of the shadow and into the sunlight, forcing the world to listen, look, acknowledge. In his photographs, relatives of the massacred and disappeared – many of them women and children – find the courage to mourn, shout, weep, demonstrate, insist, resist, display the faces of their loved ones, call out their names, demand their return. Daniel’s vision captures a massive collective memory project.
Extract from a text by Kate Doyle. Senior Analyst, National Security Archive, Washington D.C., USA.
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.