José Castrellón



Fundación Mujer y Hogar





José Castrellón is a New York-based photographer from Panamá. His photographs have been featured in publications such as M Le Monde, De Morgen, Domus, Vice Spain, Esquire Russia, Fisheye Magazine, C International Photo; and in books from editorials such as Gestalten. His work has been exhibited in institutions such as the Tate Modern, London; Museo del Barrio, New York; the Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Museum of Art and Design, New York; LAXART, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy; the Medellín Art Museum, Medellín, Colombia; among others.

Jose Castrellon works with photography, video, found objects and text, moving between the conceptual and documentary realms; taking history as a point of departure to inquire into and express anthropological and sociological concerns. He identifies with cultural changes and the impact they have on different places, the cultural modifications of people and the involution and evolution within their societies. His sensibility as an artist is attracted to the transformational forces of a society, to the cultural influences of other people, as well as to the physical transformation of urban or rural spaces, brought about by commercialism, construction, colonialism and geopolitical conflict and interventions. In general, he is attracted to all events that can generate change in people or their way of living.


“Pimpineros” is a project I worked on in the Guajira province in Colombia, a desert region of the country that is inhabited by the Wayúu people. I set out to photograph a week’s worth of travel around the region, including Maicao, Cuestecitas, Manaure, Cabo La Vela, Río Hacha and Uribia, the capital of the Wayúu territory and a makeshift collection center for gas and other petroleum derivatives smuggled from Venezuela—‘makeshift’ being the operative word. Everything in this place is improvised; a testament to the resourcefulness and resilience of the population in this Mad Max-esque no-man’s-land land between Colombia and Venezuela, where trafficking has historically taken root in many forms; from drugs and humans, to liquor and gasoline. Today, gas stations have become obsolete, driven out of business by the pimpineros—men, women and children who fill up tanks for a living using pimpinas; vessels of any kind (soda bottles, water gallons, etc.) containing smuggled gas transported across the border in cars with modified gas tanks made to accommodate more than the average capacity of regular vehicles. At only $1.50 per tank in Venezuela, and with the local police in on the scheme, pimpineros have taken over trading their labor for not only money but also for food and other necessities.


Fundación Mujer y Hogar

The Woman and Home Foundation is a non-profit organization, located in Bucaramanga and in the Colombian Alta Guajira. Its social work started on March 1, 2001, looking forward to promoting health, nutrition, healthy environments, education, spiritual growth and productivity in the most vulnerable populations such as children, teenagers, women heads of households, indigenous population, elderly people and/or migrants in an irregular situation with orphan and/or terminal diseases, among others, promoting their integral development, enabling them to freely construct a decent life project.

Programs and social projects for the improvement of the quality of life of the populations in situations of vulnerability and / or poverty, motivating their transformation into proactive families within the framework of ethics and values, always with a sense of social responsibility.