Thomas Rousset and Raphaël Verona’s Waska Tatay is fairly ambiguous at first glance. The cover is a simple yellow-to-blue fade with the title placed inconspicuously on the spine; but the content is altogether more arresting. Using a mixture of reportage and staged portraiture the photo book documents the pair’s trip to the Altiplano region of Bolivia and their encounters with witch doctors, spiritual healers and medicine men; uncovering the rites and rituals of these ancient orders and illuminating some of their extraordinary mythologies.
What’s particularly engaging about this study is the counterpoint between traditions that date back millennia and their modern setting. We see a witch doctor up a tree, in ceremonial dress but clutching her cell phone to her face, a pair of women in costumes and masks sat next to a TV/VCR and surrounded by stuffed toys and shoes, and a man dressed head-to-toe as a fish in a modern room that could easily be a theatre green room. This balance between old and new, good and evil, spiritual and physical creates a delicious tension in the book, particularly for a Western reader, whose secularised view of the world will find the unification of these seemingly contradictory worlds fascinating.
Waska Tatay is available now from IDPURE.
- Submit Saturdays: eggs, gifs and monochromatic illustration from Illustrator Jocelyn Tsaih
- Boot Boyz Biz: promoting community, not commodity
- Waving goodbye to July with our weekly Best of the Web
- The classical and the crude combine to represent the multiple facets of The Arab City
- Parquet Courts’ Andrew Savage on the interchanging influence of art and music
- Thee Drinkers: New exhibition conveys the joys and despair of having a few too many
- Benedict Redgrove’s beautifully hypnotic film about how a tennis ball is created
- Tommy Cash subverts the tropes of rap videos with a fleshy celebration of the human body (NSFW)
- Ian Davis’ picturesque paintings of bureaucratic dystopia
- Is it ever OK to work for free?
- Pentagram unveils refresh of Mastercard’s brand mark and identity
- Peter Saville and Tate Design Studio create beer can artwork for Switch House pale ale