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The Devil is Leaving his Cave
Wendy Ewald

The Devil is leaving his Cave Wendy Ewald

The Devil is leaving his Cave Wendy EwaldThe Devil is Leaving his Cave
Wendy Ewald

Essays by Wendy Ewald, Abigail Winograd, and Edgar Garcia.


144 pages
200 x 245 mm
ISBN 9781913620554


In 1991, Wendy Ewald was invited to conduct photography classes for Maya, Ladino, and Tzotzil children living in Chiapas, the southernmost province of Mexico. The sponsoring organization was the Maya writers’ cooperative, Sna Jtz-ibajom (The House of the Writers). While cameras and camcorders were hardly novelties in Chiapas, they were generally used by tourists whose picture-taking reinforced their own cultural biases. Ewald did not take pictures; instead, she guided her students in taking their own pictures of their daily lives, dreams, desires, and fantasies. These briefs resonated with the importance held by dreams in Maya culture, which considers them as real as waking life. The resulting project, The Devil is leaving his Cave, is a unique insight into the everyday realities of life in Maya communities just before the Zapatista uprising.

This book brings together Ewald’s original project with new work made in collaboration with fifteen young Mexican Americans living in Chicago, coordinated with the help of Centro Romero, an immigrant service organisation. These images respond to many of the same subjects as those by Ewald’s 1990s students, with an emphasis now on capturing inner lives and dreams as a way of reckoning with the unvoiced experiences of immigration. The themes of restriction and self-reflection that emerged from this new work were intensified by being made in part under COVID lockdown. Together, the Chiapas and Chicago projects trace the differences between growing up in different Mexican geographies with diverse histories, while reflecting on the joys and sorrows of childhood.

About the Artist
For over forty years Wendy Ewald has collaborated on photography projects with children, families, women, workers and teachers. Ewald worked in the United States, Labrador, Colombia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Holland, Mexico and Tanzania. Their projects start as documentary investigations and move on to probe questions of identity and cultural differences.

In Ewald’s work with children and women, they encourage them to use cameras to look at their own lives, their families and their communities, and to make images of their fantasies and dreams. While making their own photographs in the communities, they ask my collaborators to alter my images by drawing or writing on them, challenging the concept of who actually makes the image – who is the photographer, who is the subject, who is the observer and who is the. observed. Their work questions the conventional definition of individual authorship and casts into doubt an artist’s intentions, power and identity.

With each situation, they use different processes and materials to shift my point of view and engage with my subjects. Their work may be understood as a kind of conceptual art focused on expanding the role of aesthetic discourse in pedagogy and creating a new concept of imagery that challenges the viewer to see beneath the surface of relationships.

About the Publisher
MACK is an independent art and photography publishing house based in London. Mack works with established and emerging artists, writers and curators, and cultural institutions, releasing between 20-25 books per year. The publisher was founded in 2010 in London by Michael Mack.

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