El Rey Blanco (ongoing)

“El Rey Blanco” (The White King) is an ongoing historical, research and documentary project, started in 2022 and developed during the PhMuseum Criticae 23/24 Contemporary documentary photography program, that brings a discussion over colonialilsm and extractivism, it takes as its starting point two legends dating from the Spanish colonial era on the South American continent: In one side, the legend of the Sierra de la Plata (a mountain made of pure silver) and the myth of the White King (a powerful and rich king with a domaine full of treasures). Both of them were located in the same area, in the hearth of the contient, somewhere sailing up the waters of the Rio de la Plata, “The Silver River”.

By following the paths of the first Spanish settlers across the waters, and exploring the present-day situation of Bolivia's Cerro de Potosi (perhaps the largest silver mine in history, and believed to be the origin of the Sierra de la Plata legend), the project invites us to go in search of the mythical White King, whose whereabouts have remained a mystery.

In a spirit of "magic realism", combining direct phoography, plastic interventions, mises-en-escene and historical documents, a parallelism is proposed between the two legends and the current situation of the South American lithium triangle, where lies the 65% of the world's reserves of this precious white metal, also known as "white gold", and which is driving major foreign interests to sink their fangs once again into the continent's throat.

Showcased on:
Rencontres d’Arles 2024 - Face to Face Screening by Der_Greif at Foundation Manuel Rivera-Ortiz