working for Bolivia's neediest


Friends of Bolivia is proud to present a double bill screening of Bolivian filmmaker and poet Diego Torrez Peñaloza at Deptford Cinema on 22nd April at 14:30. Tickets: £6:00


In this short film  the Holy Father ponders questions about faith, love and democracy. (Bolivia 2015, 12 min. Dir. Diego Torres Peñaloza)    



The film features two female characters, Utopia and Demokracia. Utopia receives the legacy of a mysterious woman (Grim Reaper). Demokracia represents today’s youth facing authoritarianism and a conservative society. (Bolivia 2015, 70 min. Dir. Diego Torres Peñaloza) Both films in Spanish with English subtitles  


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Decolonising witchcraft: Portraits of traditional healers in Bolivia

(This exhibition is organised by Birkbeck University)

This exhibition portrays the women whose livelihoods involve the traditional rituals, artefacts and medicines that play a central role in culture and health in Bolivia. The indigenous wisdom involved in this work has been sidelined, either as ‘witchcraft’ under colonial powers or as merely ‘folklore’ by positivist, Western approaches to medicine. Nevertheless, in the western highlands of Bolivia the vast majority of people meaningfully engage in these rituals and practice them seriously and devoutly, and Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, has embarked on a decolonisation project which challenges the institutions and value systems which have marginalised indigenous knowledge.

These portraits are accompanied by quotes from the women themselves, discussing how they came to this profession and their role in the community.  These women are referred to exotically in tourist guidebooks as ‘witches’ but are known locally as chiflerasand amautas; the former prepares the materials for traditional healing rituals while the latter conducts the ceremony. The items used in these rituals include coca leaves, desiccated llama foetuses, the q’oa herb, alcohol and brightly coloured llama-wool and sugar figurines. These practitioners have long standing relationships with their clients and may be the first ports of call for those seeking assistance and guidance with their physical, emotional and/or spiritual well-being.

This is a collaboration between the photographer David X Green and the geographer Dr Kate Maclean, who has worked in Bolivia since 2006.


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