Texts by Eduardo López Moreno®
Aymara and Quechua indigenous women, until recently completely marginalized and excluded to maids and hawkers work, are gaining their own space in the conservative Bolivian society. ‘Cholitas’, as they are known, are literally struggling – as wresters-, becoming models in the fashion industry, and conquering many others social and political spaces that until recently were reserved to white elites.
Dressed in their unique multi-color and multi-layered attires, long shawls, petticoats, profuse earrings and brooches and their distinctive high bowler hats, ‘cholitas’ are walking with pride in malls, streets and office public buildings of El Alto – one of the highest cities in the world at 4,100 meters – and La Paz, de facto capital of Bolivia.
This is a visual story telling of social change. Images of a raising Aymara bourgeoisie, the shape of a new identity and the creation of a local fashion and architecture. Images taken in a unique and distinctive landscape as the ‘cholas’ made of mountains, hillsides, transport cables, shamans, potential thieves and fanciful ‘cholets’: a mixture of cholas and chalets; all this cover by a ‘sombrero bombin’.