Ellie Gardner and Oscar Durand are our Historical Activists of the Week!

Posted: May 19, 2013 by extremehistory in Uncategorized

Historic preservation can come in many forms

When Photographers Ellie Gardner and Oscar Durand learned of the destruction of several small historic communities in order to expand the airport in Lima, Peru, they used their skills to photographically document the neighborhood of El Ayllu. Through local research, they learned that some of the buildings dated back to the 16th century and they told the story of a small, tightly-knit community built on shared labor and kinship. By learning this history, Durand noted that “Walking on [El Ayllu’s] unpaved streets, I could see remnants of its past. It was a little bit like being able to travel back in time”

The community responded to Gardner and Durand’s photographs with great affection and appreciation as they faced the sadness of disconnecting from their home. How much of their identity was connected to this place? How will they translate that identity to the coming generations, who will no longer have this place to connect to? This is the gift that Ellie Gardner and Oscar Durand gave to this small Peruvian community and it speaks to the heart of why preservation is so important. History speaks to the heart of community. It is the tree upon which we hang our sense of self, family and neighbor. By documenting and preserving the memory of history, we can carry that identity into the future. By sharing that history with the rest of the world, we can understand and appreciate the identity and connection these people once had to this place.

The Extreme History Project honors Ellie Gardner and Oscar Durand as our Historical Activists of the Week!

Learn more about their work here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2013/04/29/179265615/a-photographic-homage-to-perus-fading-past

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