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Photo exhibit seeks to showcase fading Central American culture

on Thursday,January 07,2010 22:01

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Photographs have a unique ability to capture a moment in time, preserving the memory of a unique event that can never be repeated. As such, photographs are an excellent way to document traditional customs and rituals that are slowly fading from the social consciousness.

That was the impetus behind the newest exhibition from veteran photographer Marianne Mangold, who sought to immortalize the slowly passing indigenous cultures of the Central American Indians.

A part of the Mesoamerican Cultural Preservation Project, Mangold wanted to record the slowly ebbing ways of four native cultures including the Maya, Lacandon, Huichol and the Tarahumara on film and digital video.

The fruits of her labor will go on display at the Arte Americas in Fresno, California, and represents the largest public display of the project. The 67 photos on display were taken over a three-year period in which Mangold visited each group multiple times.

The artist felt the tribal cultures were nearly gone entirely.

"One year they''d be wearing their traditional dress with their long hair," Mangold tells the Fresno Bee. "The next year I''d come back and they’d be wearing jeans."

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