Luchar Es Crear :
Wrestling with Representation in Mexico’s Lucha Libre

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Like a burly circus acrobat, a masked wrestler catapults off the tight-roped ring, somersaulting into a swan-dive onto his adversary’s awaiting corpus. As the action invades the audience, the enthusiasms of wrestlers and fans intermingle, feeding into and off of each other, rising through a frenzied crescendo while the claps of muscular flesh against flesh and flesh against canvas pound out a peculiar rhythm amidst the screams and whistles of the crowd. The fantastical mix of sport and theater in Mexico’s Lucha Libre drew me into my first extensive photography project, one which saw me through my own transition from athlete to artist. Although my approach to and belief in documentation has changed since beginning the project, La Lucha Libre continues to be a fascinating, almost inexhaustible topic, a powerful but constantly evolving culture, practiced everywhere in Mexico and performed as passionately by the fans as by the luchadores, like an interactive dramatic production that hasn’t gone offstage since it began over eighty years ago. Confined to the ring’s borders, taking photographs at, or maybe from, these constantly varying but always welcoming arenas and events, I couldn’t avoid the desire to become more immediately involved, to give something back to these lucha communities and be part of the action, more than a passing observer. Thus the appearance of a fair-skinned and thickly accented luchador: El Gato Tuerto, The One-Eyed Cat, documented in the work of my Chiapan photography students, present, in some form, throughout the exhibition, and still at large, fighting, one would hope, a good fight.
photographs one-eyed cat