Photographer without borders: Karina Illovska
In the highlands of Guatemala amid volcanos and Lake Atitlán, is Panajachel, a town and a gateway to the nearby indigenous villages. It’s also home to ‘Mayan Familes’, a not-for-profit formed by Sharon and Dwight Poage to fund sustainable development programs in the impoverished communities of Lake Atitlán.
In August 2016, Sydney photographer Karina Illovska went into the mountains with Mayan Families, spending time inside the homes of the Guatemalan Mayans. Her work is now part of the HeadOn Festival at M2 Gallery being exhibited as, ‘The Lives Surrounding Lake Atitlán’.
It was the plight of elderly people that resonated with Karina. They’re too-often overlooked in aid efforts that focus on children. Her photos capture their homes and faces, reflecting an existence that was suppressed by the Guatemalan Civil War.
Some of the most significant photographs document the women who weave in their homes as part of the Mayan Families’ artisan project.
“Time and skill goes into this art and the project provides a stable income for these women,” Karina says. “It’s self sufficient and sustainable. The money they make through this project is much more than what they would get selling these to central buyers or at markets to locals or tourists.”
‘The Lives Surrounding Lake Atitlán’ will be shown at M2 Gallery, 450 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills from Thursday May 25th to Tuesday May 30th. The gallery is open every day from midday to 7pm.
Karina Illovska is a senior photographer at BresicWhitney.