Fruit of a six-year collaboration between photographer Stephen Ferry and his sister, the anthropologist Elizabeth Emma Ferry, La Batea looks closely at small-scale gold mining in Colombia. The title refers to the wooden pan used in traditional mining since Pre-Columbian times. The book La Batea is published in Spanish with Icono Editorial and with Red hook Editions in English.
La Batea documents the struggles of gold mining communities in Colombia to defend their way of life against armed criminal organizations and multinational corporations seeking their gold. Colombia reflects the situation of local communities worldwide who face violent repression for opposing large-scale mining projects in their territories. While exploring the complex social terrain around gold mining, La Batea engages with the charismatic nature of both gold and mercury.
Carefully integrating images, text and design, the exhibition of La Batea relates to the experience of reading the book, as the photos are composed of sections and printed on Mohawk Linen Cream book paper. The images are taped directly to the wall to create an immediate experience that combines the reading of text with looking at images.