Jahel Guerra Roa on creating space for her community, in photography

Art Director Gem Fletcher introduces us to the work of Venezuela born, Barcelona-based photo artist Jahel Guerra Roa

From the series Mujeres Del Maiz

Jahel Guerra Roa uses her work to explore themes of identity, belonging and femininity through her Latinx lens. Her photographs occupy the space between documentary and art, and are alive with constant experimentation. “I made a commitment to make and create space for my community. I take the responsibility of portraying my Latin American identity seriously.”

Guerra had an idyllic childhood growing up in Judibana, an oil refinery town in the Falcon State of Venezuela. Her grandmothers, both fierce artists, were the foundation of her creative education. She now splits her time between London and Barcelona where she is actively involved with feminist collectives, learning from other migrant women and exploring ideas around female instinct, nature and how identity shapes diasporas. Her work is deeply rooted in collaboration and community engagement. Her latest series Mujeres Del Maiz (Women of the Corn) is a series of portraits celebrating Latin American women and their connection to pre-colonial traditions. Each portrait contains layers of images and paint informed by Zapatista art and the Navajo female god of maize.

Activism is at the centre of her practice. Guerra explores her identity as a migrant woman and what it means to be a white Latina. She brings a poignant, yet positive eye to the struggles of visibility, empowerment and justice within current social, political, economic and culture structures, enabling untold stories to be shared.