“Volveré y seré milliones”
This piece pays homage to two incredible Aymara revolutionaries, Tupac Katari and Bartolina Sisa. In the 18th century, the brutality of Spanish colonial rule led to many uprisings but the leadership of Katari and Sisa successfully transformed this despair into a powerful movement of more than 40,000 native people of all different communities including Quechua to occupy the city of La Paz (then Peru, now Bolivia). The physical occupation of the city in 1781 lasted 3 months but the legacy of what this occupation meant is still very present in the minds of man. Nothing is more instructive and transformative than witnessing what is possible. When I learn the history of my people and how we stood up for ourselves and others who suffered alongside us, I understand that our current resistance movements are a part of a larger historical continuum of people who are conscious of their condition and see that it is in fact something we can tangibly change.
I depict them here amongst the people to honor the way they were able to inspire the most oppressed communities to put aside their differences and come together to fight for their freedom. Although this occupation ended up with the brutal murder of these two leaders and many others, Katari knew that even by killing him, the revolutionary spirit and change that he and others demonstrated, would transform the people of the Andes and before his death said that he would die but return through the millions more that would be inspired to fight in his wake. Even in our failures, when the struggle ends in defeat, we must do everything we can to come back even stronger.
This piece is dedicated to every person who understands that freedom requires struggle and will fight to make it possible. “You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution” – Fred Hampton
“Volveré y seré milliones” – Tupac Katari