Echele Ganas: Do Your Best
- Visual Arts
Echele Ganas in Mexican Spanish means "Do your best." It is the name I have given to my photographic and video project that portrays the way of life left behind by people from the Sierra Norte of the Puebla region of Mexico. I first met people from this area while remodeling my photo studio in Philadelphia. I hired Alberto and his brother Ramon to help me. Cousins Adán, Lino and Martín came to help. When Adán returned to Mexico and invited me to attend his wedding, I packed my bags with cameras and presents and thus began the Echele Ganas Project.
I was curious to know more about the families of the people who had worked for me. What were their lives like? What were their villages like? How had having relatives working in the states affected them? My earlier training in Mexico as a visual anthropologist prepared me to undertake the task of exploring these questions.
I felt that it was important to give the people of Sierra Norte de Puebla their own voices in telling their own story. I entitled my project, “Echele Ganas,” because when I asked people there to send a greeting to their relatives in the states through the videos I was shooting in tandem with my photographs, they always extended their gentle counsel of “Echele Ganas,” literally meaning, “Do your best.” Indeed, their advice was heeded; their expectations were fulfilled; in most cases their relatives did their best in the United States by trying harder, which is another meaning for “Echele Ganas.”
The “Echele Ganas” photographs will be at Philadelphia’s Magic Garden from April 27th-June 16th. The “Echele Ganas” book will serve as the catalog for my show.
Your contribution to USA Artists will help to pay for the printing of the “Echele Ganas” catalog/book. Your support and contributions are much appreciated. Laurence Salzmann.