Gran Poder

UNESCO Wold Heritage event (Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity)

Inevitably it is necessary to give a historical perspective of this yearly festival that takes place in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. The celebration transforms and stimulates the social life of La Paz every year, emanating from a particular way of understanding and living Andean Catholicism.

The Parade begins with a procession through the western part of the city. This procession is central to the event, involving 40,000 devotees who dance and sing in an offering to Jesus of the Great Power. The dance has a sacred significance for the sixty-nine fraternities involved, which are greeted in the streets in a euphoric atmosphere where the music of 7,000 musicians resonates.

The image venerated with dance and music is believed to have arrived in the city at the founding of the convent of the Mothers of the Sacred Conception on the 8th of December 1663, representing the Trinity: a single body with three faces. Because of its heterodox nature Pope Benedict VI prohibited its worship. To continue to venerate it, being considered miraculous by its followers, it was decided to paint over the Trinity, leaving only one face and without the triangular ribbon held by the hands of the Christ.

The first organised manifestation of the festival goes back to 1926 with the first fraternities of dancers, mainly the groups of embroiderers. Each group starts with a banner indicating a fraternity, followed by the dancers in their varied costumes, and followed by the brass band belonging to each group.

Masks
Women’s costumes
Men’s costumes
The musicians

The Stairs

Listening to Mervyn Peake’s ‘Gormenghast’…

TheStairs

Nature Morte

This image has been added to my other Still Life projects.

NatureMorte

I would appreciate it if you were to view the other collections.
Thank you.
and not forgetting Cala Lilies

Natural History Museum, London

A photograph I have taken some years ago reworked with Zone System Express, one of Blake Rudis plugins. I recommend his contribution to creative photography to any professional or budding photographer.

ScienceMuseum

Gran Poder: a colourful festival

Gran Poder book cover

It is difficult to imagine a cultural event such as the festival represented in this book if one has not previously witnessed a similar  Andean religious/folkloric manifestation. What catches the eye is the abundance of vivid colour as the groups dance their way down from the streets on the hillside  to the commercial centre of the city of La Paz in an organised and relentless fashion, singing to the sound of wind instruments, cymbals and large bass drums. The parade begins early in the morning, at about 6:30 with the votive offering to the Ancestors to end past midnight. There were about 40,000 participants representing 16 types of dances when I witnessed this event.

The origin of the celebration of Jesus of The Great Power dates back to December 8, 1663, with the foundation of the convent of the Immaculate Conception and sister Genoveva Carrión who brought the image of the three-faced Jesus representing the Holy Trinity. Interestingly enough Pope Benedict VI banned this image in the XVIII century.

There is much to be said about this cultural event: the modality of Andean faith,  community spirit, the Ayllu concept, etc. etc.  but perhaps this is not the place to expand.

This e-book can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/47368164/granpoder/index.html (the reader might take a little time to load…. please be patient)

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