The Exotic Amazon and The Exotic Woman

“The Exotic Amazon and The Exotic Woman” is a digital publication containing a series of personal written and illustrated reflections examining my relationship with the Amazon (particularly in the city of Iquitos/Loreto region), from a geographic, historical, and gendered lens.

The texts draw from M. NourbeSe Philip’s “Dis Place-The Space in Between” (2000), which speaks of space as gendered and reconceptualizes the bodies of black women as sexed and (dis)located in the “New World.” In this work, Philip argues that black women navigate a gendered world, where their safety is determined by an outer space that desires and exploits their inner space. The texts connect Philip’s thoughts of the black woman’s inner space (or ‘the space between the legs’) and their outer space as the plantation, with the narratives of exotic woman in the Amazon and the colonial history of resource extraction as the outer space. The written part of the publication acts as an attempt to make sense of how my body navigates a place marked by patriarchal and extractive processes by tracing the colonial and gendered histories of Loreto in the Amazon.

The illustrations draw from personal and collective mythologies from the Amazon. They served as an alternate story to the colonial history that is being illuminated through the texts. The graphic outputs aim to evoke a restorative narrative to the violent histories of extraction, where the reader/viewer can think of another way of reclaiming power.