Weaving the Document: The Photography of Maruch Sántiz

March 4, -
Speaker(s): Sam Hunnicut, Duke Ph.D. Program in Romance Studies
In the middle of the 1990s, Maruch Sántiz Gómez, an Indigenous Tsotsil Maya woman from the Mexican state of Chiapas, became a sudden sensation in the international art world for her photographic series titled Creencias, or "Beliefs." Sántiz had interviewed elders in her community to record taboos, dream interpretations and other forms of orally transmitted knowledge. She then paired the text of these with her own photographs -- ostensibly demonstrating the beliefs -- in order to create the Creencias series.

The contemporary reception of Creencias among art critics and in the popular press tended to view the series as a form of salvage ethnography engaged in documenting and preserving elements of Tsotsil Maya culture. This talk, however, aims to show how Creencias, through the productive tensions that Sántiz generates by weaving together text and image, evades the tendency of ethnographic photography to produce a static, almost mummified image of its subject.


Register for the event (Zoom link will be sent with registration confirmation):


Duke's Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is currently supporting three Ph.D. student fellows who are pursuing research related to documentary studies. As part of the fellowship, students are giving presentations on some aspect of their dissertation research that relates to documentary studies at the Spring 2024 Work-in-Progress Seminars.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Join CDS on April 1 for another seminar in this series. Details at https://duke.is/first-mondays


Image courtesy of Sam Hunnicut: Sántiz Gómez, Maruch. Chabajel ta vaechil (Labrando en sueños). 1995. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Center for Documentary Studies (CDS)


Art, Art History & Visual Studies; Arts & Sciences (A&S); Cultural Anthropology; Duke Arts; Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI); Graduate School; History; Literature; Master of Fine Arts in Experimental & Documentary Arts (MFAEDA); Romance Studies

Weaving the Document: The Photography of Maruch Sántiz


Katie Hyde