Max Arens

Independencia

My grandmother was born in Independencia, a German-speaking settlement located at the foot of the Ybytyruzú mountain range in Paraguay. Emigrants from former German East Africa first travelled to the area in 1919, hoping for a better future. Where the jungle once ruled there now is pasture. Today, many recent immigrants from Germany live in Independencia next to the descendants of German emigrants. Although they share their German background, these two groups tend to stay separate. While the inhabitants born in the so-called „colony“ built a strong community over the past century, the similarities among recent immigrants differ a little more, some of which advocate very distinct political views or follow conspiracy theories. This series investigates how the inhabitants of Independencia still practice German culture. How do they relate to the broken German identity? After getting to know the community one person at a time, I realized the people might have more in common than they think. They share a dream of personal freedom in a globalized world. In a time where our society seems to split rather than unite, this series aims at creating a dialog between diverging parties by offering my perspective as an outsider to the spectator.

This series investigates how the inhabitants of Independencia still practice German culture. How do they relate to the broken German identity? After getting to know the community one person at a time, I realized the people might have more in common than they think. They share a dream of personal freedom in a globalized world. In a time where our society seems to split rather than unite, this series aims at creating a dialog between diverging parties by offering my perspective as an outsider to the spectator.

© Max Arens

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