A photographic and transmedia project in El Salvador and The United States
Welcome to Intipucá City, un territorio transnacional
La ciudad de Intipucá no está aquí ni allí: está en ambos lugares a la vez. Desde 1968 y con la partida de Silfredo Chávez, (re)conocido como el primer migrante, irse a Estados Unidos desde esta ciudad de El Salvador se transformó en costumbre, en una parte de la historia y de la vida del pueblo y sus familias. Estados Unidos se volvió algo cercano y presente, aunque geográficamente lejano.
La (des)unidad familiar empezó a dibujar un territorio transnacional, las ausencias de los parientes contrastan con la omnipresencia de mansiones al estilo norteamericano a la espera de un posible retorno. La piedra se convierte en el modo de seguir vinculado con la tierra natal cuando el cuerpo no lo puede hacer. Intipucá es un territorio en tensión, una identidad que fue sembrada en un lejano allá. Las familias se transformaron en rompecabezas, y la ciudad se volvió un pueblo de ancianos y adolescentes.
A través de la fotografía y de árboles genealógicos hechos a mano por los y las intipuqueños, buscamos entender la identidad trastocada por una necesidad económica y social de irse, así como el impacto del hecho de migrar en un pueblo y sus habitantes, reconfigurando la noción de vínculos con el territorio y con la familia. En estos árboles genealógicos, el color rojo representa a los familiares establecidos en EE.UU., mientras que el azul ilustra a quienes hoy viven en Intipucá.
Intipucá is neither here nor there: it exists as both at once. Migration to the United States has been a tradition in this city situated in El Salvador, since 1968. As a result of shifts in international migration policy over the years and the circular nature of migration between Central America and the United States, the structure of families in Intipucá has taken on a transnational identity. The United States has become something close and present, despite being geographically distant.
Traditional architecture in Intipucá can scarcely be seen among newly constructed palaces made possible by remittances from North America. Photographs of these houses and their interiors serve as portraits of both absence and aspiration, representing family members who have left and the material influence of the United States.
By combining this documentation of domestic spaces with portraits, interviews, and hand-written family trees drawn by Intipuqueños (names written in red for those living in the United States, and in blue for those living in Intipucá), we encourage viewers to reflect on the drivers and consequences of migration for individuals and their families.
At Hugo Salinas and his uncle Alcides Andrade’s house. The Statue of Liberty has been brought from the U.S. to El Salvador, Intipucá. September, 2017.
Claudia Rivera, doctor at her work in Santiago de Maria. She is the director of the hospital. And came back to El Salvador after growing up in the US. Claudia Rivera left Intipucá as a child because of the 1980s war in El Salvador. She began a life in Maryland in Washington with her parents and brothers, however after graduating as a doctor and her children grew up she decided to return to El Salvador in order to help the health development of her people. (Right) Family tree hanmade by the protagonist. In red, people’s name who live in the US and in blue, the ones who live in El Salvador.. Santiago de Maria, El Salvador – February 28, 2019.
Amy, who’s family live in the US: Intipuca, 2019.
SULMA ESCOBAR, 30 years old Her mother migrated when she was four. He hasn’t seen her since. «When your mother leaves for the United States, you are treated very badly here, because you become the sidekick,» says Sulma, who owns a beauty parlor in downtown Intipucá. She doesn’t aspire to live in another country. She wants to stay and grow her business. «I want to go to the United States to meet my mom, but not to stay because I want to generate more jobs here,» she says. The protagonists of the project drew their family tree. In blue, the names of their relatives living in El Salvador. In red, the names of their relatives living in the United States.
OMAR BLANCO, 55 years old He fled the war in El Salvador in July 1980. He was 14 years old at the time. He spent all his youth in the United States, and was deported in August 1992, when he had already had a daughter in this country and now in Intipuca meanwhile all his family stayed in the US. The protagonists of the project drew their family tree. In blue, the names of their relatives living in El Salvador. In red, the names of their relatives living in the United States.
At Hugo Salinas and his uncle Alcides Andrade house. The liberty statue has been brought from the US. El Salvador, Intipuca – September 2017
On the left, view from Virginia, the US. On the right, view of an interoir of a house in Intipuca.
Doble analogic exposure, mixing Intipuca and DC area.
Doble analogic exposure, mixing Intipuca and DC area.
Manfredo Mejia, restaurant in Virginia.
Rocibel in Washington. 2019
Model of Rosibel’house in Intipuca. Maryland, 2019.
BLANCA NERIS CHAVEZ, 65 years old «I came back to be my own boss,» says Blanca Neris, who worked for a long time in the United States and returned to retire as a beach hotel owner. After 15 years in the United States, Blanca now runs a business providing employment opportunities to local young people.