Portrait of Latin America
by Mo Fini
First Edition 1990
Written in English
These photographs are a way of introducing the extraordinary communities and individuals I have come to know, love and work with during a decade of travelling in Latin America – and the book is designed to give the full story behind Tumi without saying it all in words.
Since Tumi started in r978 with a sackful of Peruvian sweaters and a market stall in London’s Camden Town, it has grown to become a successful retail enterprise specialising in traditional Latin American crafts; ranging from hand-woven textiles and decorative pottery to Mexican silver and alpaca woollens. Tumi encompasses everything that the Latin American artisan has to offer, from Andean music to Ayacucho rugs, and to me it is a celebration of their rich cultural heritage.
Today Tumi trades with nine countries and relies on the skilled craftsmanship of hundreds of families. People who, in turn, have come to depend on Tumi and the demand in the West for their unique artefacts, for their financial independence and self respect.
I have developed a close working relationship with many of these communities and I visit them at least once a year. We sleep on the same floor and together we thank Mother Earth before we share the same simple meal.
Our relationship is based on a harmonious socio-economic phenomenon which is built on love, faith and understanding of one another. Not only do I find myself at the head of a company, but also at the head of what I regard as a large family. While encouraging them to rediscover and maintain the roots of their traditional craftsmanship, I participate in their happiness, their marriages, festivals, births and baptisms. I know all their problems and suffer with them, often adding my own to theirs.
I am often asked how I cope with living half my life in Latin America and the other half in the UK. My answer to this is very simple: `The West drives me mad and discharges me and the people of Latin America revitalise me. That is the secret of how I survive.’
Since my first journey to Latin America in 1978, I have travelled extensively through Central and Southern American countries – my mode of transport has varied from foot and donkey to truck, bus and plane. In this vast sub-continent of contrasting landscapes, I have found hunger, despair and conflict; I have discovered too, among deserts, forests, magnificent mountains and ancient ruins, the warmth, resilience and great hope of the Latin American people.
This collection of images sets out to show some of the faces and landscapes which have made the greatest impact on my life. Notwithstanding the title, it by no means covers the whole of Latin America; the book merely concentrates on those countries in which I have worked the longest and with which I have the strongest links.
Condition; Very Good /
Interior clean , Binding tight