Juanita Escobar | Orinoco Women's Journal

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Country of origin: Columbia
Project location: Columbia, Venezuela
Program: Magnum Foundation Fund
Year: 2018

Reaching above the crests of torrential waters, ambitions whirl in an eternal rotation of energy, of water: the keeper of countless desires and deliriums–– some defeated, others enduring. Over the last three months, with the yellow-brown ink of its waters, the Orinoco River has plotted its own route in a flood of an unprecedented size, the region’s biggest in 40 years. On one side is the Venezuelan crisis. On the other, is the eternal state of abandonment in this region of Colombia. The waters have now reached Puerto Carreño, relentlessly surging on.

This story is about women. It is about their bodies, their dreams, their voices, their desires to conquer a river, to captivate the spirits of the Orinoco. It is about their desires to resist abandonment.

All throughout this area of the border, people believe in the river’s spirits ––magical beings that live in the depths of it called Mawari. A mix of scales and skin, they are beings of water and song, women and river. Their beauty is as expansive, peaceful and breathtaking as the waters in which they inhabit. They gather and offer food from the river’s profundities and whoever accepts it is destined to live the rest of their lives in the Orinoco’s mysterious great liquid memory. This project is about these captivating women who, dressed as the river, seek to tell a different story and give a different voice to the life of this border.