If there is a metaphor for the Afro-Peruvian diasporic identity, one could look to the Gladiolus flower. Originating in Sub-Saharan Africa, gladioli are favored as a symbol of strength and piercing beauty. Angie Keller parallels the journey and symbolism of this flower with the women living in El Carmen, a small coastal town 130 miles south of Lima, Peru.
These women are the backbone of their families and the essence of a community that presents the Afro-Peruvian identity to the world. Keller aims to increase the visibility and recognition of Afro- Peruvian cultural expression and El Carmen as a product of the African Diaspora.
For over five years, Keller immersed herself in this community, determined to capture the flourishing culture of El Carmen. The photographs featured in The Gladioli of El Carmen bring us into the colorfully decorated homes of each woman, centering them with the intent to recognize the power of this community, celebrate these women’s lives, and pass on their legacy.
Emily A. Kuhlmann
Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs
Museum of the African Diaspora
San Francisco, California