Misk’i Kachi Runakuna


Sweet Salt People // Gente de Sal Dulce

Photographs by Laurence Salzmann

On view Feb 15 through May 29, 2021

Text by Yolanda Carbajal Zuniga

“The duality of the cosmos and the world that surrounds mankind is an idea basic to Andean thought: day and night, man and woman are so distinct, but together are they able to create harmony”

Yolanda Carbajal Zuniga, text from Misk’i Kachi//Sweet Salt// Sal Dulce.

In 2021, the Philadelphia-based artist, ethnographer, and documentarian Laurence Salzmann (b. 1944) celebrates more than 60 years of photography.

With landscapes photographed in black-and-white, Salzmann’s captures the ethereal and abstract, inviting rumination of the salinas’ (salt ponds) landscape and salt formations. Yet, his work does not exist solely in his photographs. It is also with Yolanda Carbajal Zuniga’s aid, a collaboration with the region’s indigenous people. Carbajal, a Cuzco citizen and Quechua-speaker, added weight and inclusion with her captions to his photographs written in Quechua and translated to Spanish and English. Her informed words and insight present the “duality” that Salzmann sees in these people who embody both an ancient culture and one planted in a Postcolonial present.   

In the context of today’s United States political climate, where a question of citizenship takes on the appearance of a threat, his photographs and Carbajal’s words call attention to the indigenous people of the Americas and, in so doing, challenges contemporary ideas of nativist privilege that came into being with the end of colonial rule.

Cuzco’s Yolanda Carbajal Zuniga, an anthropology graduate and translator, has collaborated on this project by writing captions for each photograph that adds weight, inclusion, interpretation and context to every image. These captions, written in Quechua before being translated to Spanish and English, bring her perspective as a woman of indigenous descent to the project.

Laurence Salzmann has been working as a documentary photographer and filmmaker since the late 1960s. His photographs and documentary films are well known and in the collections of many museums. With Misk’i Kachi// Sweet Salt, he broadens the understanding of Latinx culture and adds another dimension to his documentary photography

This exhibition and related programming are primarily funded through PNC Arts Alive. PNC Arts Alive is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar grant initiative of PNC and the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Now in its twelfth year, PNC Arts Alive challenges visual and performing arts organizations to put forth their best, most original thinking in expanding audience participation and engagement. More than 40 organizations across the region were selected for support in 2020 – including several first-time grantees, through a newly expanded PNC Arts Alive initiative to support smaller, community-based arts and cultural organizations. For more information about our grant and all of the funded programs, each selected for their bold thinking around increasing arts access and engagement, please visit