Kevin Kunishi Statement

Artist Statement
In 1979, after over a decade of struggle, the socialist Sandinista movement in Nicaragua overthrew the dictator, Anastasio Somoza Debayle. The Sandinistas, Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN, quickly began the work of applying their social and ideological values in the hopes of creating a better Nicaragua.

Unfortunately, the United States government had other plans. In the cold war environment of the 1980s, the prospect of a socialist government gaining a foothold in Central America was deemed unacceptable. The CIA began financing, arming and training a clandestine rebel insurgency to destabilize the government. These anti-Sandinista counter-revolutionaries, became known as Contras.

Between 1980 and 1990, Nicaragua became the battleground of conflicting political ideologies; the promise of a bright future was lost as the nation descended into civil war.

Twenty years later, between 2009 and 2010, I traveled throughout Northern Nicaragua to consider the legacy left behind.

These photographs are notational records of my experience, an attempt to move beyond broad ideology and rhetoric and navigate the collective memory of those involved. Although at one time sharply divided by two polarized political philosophies, the survivors are now united by their war torn history and scarred psychological landscape. And what of the markers of affiliation, the banners under which horrific acts were committed? Faded and gone. As political ideology evolves, dilutes or disappears, the horrors of war remain.

Process Statement
These photographs were created with a Medium Format Hasselblad 500cm with 80mm f2.8, 120mm f4 Carl Zeiss lenses and a Rolleiflex 80mm f2.8C Xenotar on Kodak Portra Film.
My approach is minimalist and organic. All images where created utilizing soft natural ambient light. I would sometimes use flags and reflectors to control the light.

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