On the book covers of Behind the Mask: Dulio Gomez Romero (left) and Medardo Verastegui Inga.


También disponible en español aquí

Behind the Mask (Detrás de la Máscara) is a collection of photographs created during the filming of La Máscara y Más (The Mask and More), a documentary about the Huaconada of Mito. UNESCO globally recognized this ancient dance from Peru for its Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010. Along with interviews and other locally gathered information, Behind the Mask (written in English and Spanish) is a narrative about some of Mito’s people, their costumes and rituals that keep the Huaconada as a living tradition and a fabulous component of Peru’s rich and diverse cultural identity.

To see (flip view) and purchase Behind the Mask, please go to Blurb Books here.

From the introduction to Behind the Mask

On December 27, 2018, my daughter, Jennifer and I began our journey to Peru to make a documentary about The Huaconada. I had been introduced to the dance earlier that year at a fundraiser for the cultural group, Raíces del Perú, who were preparing for their first entry into the Calgary Stampede Parade. I lived in Peru for four years before moving to Canada, so I was familiar with most of the performances I photographed that evening, but not the Huaconada. I was immediately impressed by the masks, the music and mythology behind the dance and began to plan my next project.

Following a short stay in Lima to visit friends and family, we gathered with our other crew members, Carla Diaz Silva, the director of Raíces del Perú, and Daniel Gomez, my in-country fixer for over twenty years. We headed up the Carretera Central into the Andes and through the altiplano into the mining town of La Oroya. Over twenty years before, on one of my first environmental projects in Peru, the pollution coming from its copper smelter gave me an asthma attack. This time, the shutdowns and closures had made the air cleaner, but we still had the soroche (altitude sickness) to contend with as we stopped for chicken soup at a café in the high street. The light faded fast as we drove into the fertile Mantaro Valley, then up and around the sixteen tight turns of the rough track to our hotel on the hillside.

The next morning, the last day of 2018, we drove back across the river into Mito. People in the town were preparing for their festival: cleaning the plaza, blocking off the side roads, and receiving a truckload of beer. A man in a red cap was perched high up on a ladder doing some work on his house. I walked over and struck up a conversation. Two days later, we were still talking with Medardo Verastegui Inga, his daughter Yamiley and other people in the community, learning more and filming this Peruvian dance that was globally recognized by UNESCO for its Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.

Book now available

To see (flip view) and purchase Behind the Mask, please go to Blurb Books here.

6 comments on “Behind the Mask

  1. Pingback: Detrás de la Máscara publicado – NixonsCan

  2. Pingback: The Mask and More: the Huaconada of Mito – NixonsCan

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  4. Pingback: Masks, Mussorgsky and Mito at cSPACE – NixonScan

  5. Pingback: Making Mito – NixonScan

  6. Pingback: The Huacon’s Mask – NixonScan

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