Andrés Figueroa 

Fabián Quintanilla, Diablada Promesantes de San Lorenzo, Iquique, San Lorenzo de Tarapacá 

Fabián Quintanilla, Diablada Promesantes de San Lorenzo, Iquique, San Lorenzo de Tarapacá

About the artist

Andrés Figueroa was born in Santiago, Chile, in July of 1974. He discovered photography when he was only 15 years old when he joined a B&W photographic laboratory workshop. Since then he has dedicated himself to portraying the world that surrounds him, working obsessively to develop his self-taught skills. Once he finished school, he joined the Chilean Photo Art School, where he studied Professional Photography. Since 1998 he has worked as an editorial, commercial and industrial photographer. Parallel to this, he developed his authorial work, creating diverse personal projects. Since 1998 the focus of his work has been photographic portraits.


Portrait is your means of expression, where your inspirations come from?
My creations have been influenced by masters like August Sander, Martin Chambi, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, among others. Mine main interest is centered on people and the cultural and social baggage that they carry when they get together and create a new social entity. I feel deep empathy for concepts like freedom of speech; respect for diversity; and the legitimate right to be.

The "Desert Dancers" series is a photographic investment that began in 2008, produced in Chile, your native country, where does this interest in indigenous cultures come from?

I perceive that in my country there is a deep lack of awareness about the indigenous cultures and a permanent denial of mixed races. This is the product of a cultural and educational policy that undervalues and deprecates everything related to the indigenous. In recent years this historical situation has experienced a gradual change towards greater knowledge and appreciation.

The project Desert Dancers, aspires to create a dignified image archive  of the popular religious culture that exists at the north of Chile. Throughout an in situ photographic exploration, the artist endeavors to create a bridge between the spectator and the culture, describing its richness, diversity and significance. The main objective is draw together the spectator and the people who are the protagonists of the traditional ceremonies that represent a cultural, religious, living patrimony

The portraits of the dancers are particularly intriguing, can you tell us about this culture?
More than a 100 years ago, in the territory that corresponds to the Atacama Desert at the very North of Chile, several religious celebrations were born as a result of the fusion of indigenous cultures and the catholic religion. Some of the most popular ones are La Virgen de la Tirana, San Lorenzo de Tarapaca, la Virgen de Ayquina and la Virgen de las Peñas.
Many pilgrims congregate for these celebrations, with dancing groups being the principal protagonists. These gatherings, consolidated during the height of saltpeter industry, are organized in  community societies and family groups. They are created by the villagers, modest people who who each year, with great effort, give tribute to the Virgin or a saint.
During the whole year these groups, rigorously prepare themselves, not only rehearsing  but also holding events and raising funds to allow them to generate the resources to attend and participate in these festivities each year.

In the middle of the driest dessert in the world, not caring about the heat during the day nor the cold at night, they express their faith dancing to the rhythm of imposing brass  and laquita bands, creating a magnificent audio-visual display. As a community, they create a mystical journey that seeks to generate a direct encounter with the divinity, to whom they offer their dances with great love, as a fulfillment of a vow or as a simple act of devotion.

Limited edition, numbered and signed.

Selected shows and awards

Goa Photo Festival, 2015
Photoquai PHQ4, Quai Branly, Paris, 2013
Retratos, Library of Santiago, Chile, 2013
Retratos, Museum GGV, La Serena, Chile 2013
Chili, Fotografía y Convivencia, Montjuic Castle, Barcelona, Espagna, 2011-2012
Fotografía de Pueblos Originarios Siglos XIX/XXI, Museum of Memory and Human Rights , Santiago, Chile, 2011
Fuera de Lugar, Consideraciones sobre Arte, Ciudad y Urbanismo, National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile, 2010-2011
Walking Around, Cultural Center La Vaguada, Madrid, Spain, 2009
Transgresión Transición Transigencia, Photogallery Arcos, Santiago and Viña del Mar, Chile, 2008-2009
Desierto, Cultural Centre Apoquindo 3300, Santiago, Chile, 2006
Presencias, AFA Gallery, Santiago, Chile, 2006

Selected publications

Magazine PAT (DIBAM), 2013
Sueño de la Razón (FESTA), 2011


& order

Andrés Figueroa 
Fabián Quintanilla, Diablada Promesantes de San Lorenzo, Iquique, San Lorenzo de Tarapacá


Technical information

Pigment print on Hahnemühle photo Rag Baryta paper - limited edition, numbered and signed certificate.


60,5 x 37,5 cm, Edition of 30 400.00 €

By the same artist

Andrés Figueroa

By the same curator

Andrès Figueroa / Opening