Omar Gámez

(México, 1975)

Mestizo proposes a critical questioning of the prevailing prototypes of masculine beauty in the contemporary moment. Based on work with four neighbors from Santa María la Ribera, photographer Omar Gámez proposed a series of four large format photographs of each one of them for public display within the neighborhood. Gámez proposed these neighbors as bearers of a mestizo beauty that is the product of a multicultural complexity that corresponds to Latin American geographies. Far from reaffirming a discourse about ethnic pride, the project makes visible the stories of struggle embodied by each one of the participating men and their perception about their physicality in a context of Anglo-Saxon phenotypes, wherein models imposed by the apparatus of consumption promote the same genealogies of disposable objects as alienating typologies of people and forms of being.

The costumes worn by each neighbor were inspired by their important life experiences, which gave rise to a phrase that invited us to rethink male autonomy related to the possibility of men’s self-determination in regards to identity formation and the exhibition of their bodies.

The photographs were displayed in Forum Buenavista, the large commercial shopping center on the edge of Santa María, as well as in a circuit of gymnasiums in the area, where the photos, mounted like any other advertising, marked a vivid contrast with the landscape overwhelmed with dominant male archetypes. Part of the piece is a device that uses the same images but in the form of a postcard, that contains the stories of each one of the co-participants. The shared subjectivities of these men function as a way of counteracting the system of colonialist domination through the conditions of beauty, of gender, and “race.”

—Violeta Celis

Curators: Osvaldo Sánchez and Violeta Celis
Final Project: A series of four large-format photographs displayed in the Forum Buenavista shopping mall and local gyms, together with a series of postcards that were distributed throughout the neighborhood.