2021 / Portfolio / Personal

Holy Week of Puâaxku Jitsé In Santa Teresa, Mexico

  • Photographer
    William Frej
  • Agency / Studio
    William Frej Photography

In the remote, indigenous Cora village of Santa Teresa in Mexico’s Sierra del Nayar mountains, the ancient ceremony of Puáaxku jitsé takes place the week before Easter. These photos, taken after receiving permission from village authorities, provide a rare glimpse of complex expressions of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican spirituality as it has evolved over five centuries. I invite you to experience the processions, the hypnotic music, the dramatic black and white painted men and boys transformed into otherworldly creatures, the mock battles and ancient ritual games, documented here in time present.

I have been photographing indigenous peoples' culture for over forty years, living in Indonesia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Afghanistan. My work is represented in numerous public and private collections, and academic institutions throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the Asia Pacific Museum in Warsaw, San Francisco Arts Commission, Dumbarton Oaks, Spanish Colonial Museum in Santa Fe and special collections at Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Duke, Notre Dame and the University of New Mexico. My award-winning photo book, MAYA RUINS REVISITED, was published in October 2020.