Inside the Association of the Angels, Elizabeth Rush

View all 29 Photos

The Association of the Angels, a squatter city outside Lima, Peru, caught the attention of photographer Elizabeth Rush with its distinct history and aesthetic. The slum grew as the city of Lima overflowed. Between 1940 and 1993, the city’s population increased 1000% as counter-insurgent war and agribusiness made the country unsafe and unaffordable for campesinos. Many commoners who migrated to Lima found that they could not afford property in the city either, and so they formed camps on unused land at the periphery.

Their dwellings alternately blend and contrast with the landscape, mixing natural and artificial materials. They are made of wood, stone, sheet metal, tarps, mesh, and woven panels. They are weathered, with tarps ripped and whole structures slanted by the wind. Some of the roofs are raised above the walls for wind circulation. Some have windows cut into the front panel. Many are symbolically set off from the public grounds with doors, fences, and lines of white paint. Some of the fences connect multiple buildings, marking them as one “property.” Although the dwellings are not owned in the traditional sense, the people who live in them express a sense of belonging, however transient, by flying Peruvian flags and painting names on the doors and walls.

Although the squatter cities have quite a history, they are transient. Frequently, Rush says, families who have established a homefront in a place such as the Association of the Angels leave, hoping to sell their squatter “property” and move into the city limits. Because of this trend, Rush proposes, the slums tend to thin out. Interestingly, Rush’s series does not show a single person living in the squatter city. Her photographs depict signs of life, such as clothes hanging on a clothesline, potted flowers, and recently walked paths in the dust. But, reinforcing Rush’s claim that “Many places like the Association of the Angels become half abandoned,” her representation is empty as a ghost town.

All Images © Elizabeth Rush

Holly

Holly

Holly is a poet from Kentucky. She grew up first in a Sears house, then on a farm. She studied English and Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College and moved to Manhattan for love. As an occasional jewelry-maker and museum patron, Holly favors wearable and functional design but is eager to see work that challenges her aesthetics. Read more and connect by visiting her blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Take me there

  • Naked Stables Resort

    A two hour trip away from China’s largest city, Shanghai, Moganshan stuns with its magical…

  • Sublime Comporta

    Surrounded by rice fields, umbrella pines, vineyards, and miles of pristine white beaches, Sublime Comporta…

More for you

  • Danakil By Andrea Frazzetta

    Italian photographer Andrea Frazzetta has traveled all over the world, visiting over 50 countries in…

  • The Bicycle By Anton Grebentsov

    Photographer Anton Grebentsov creates minimalist images. His work often features simple compositions with perfectly lit…

  • Burnout Series By Simon Davidson

    A self-taught photographer, Simon Davidson has become one of the leading photographers in Australia. His…

  • Bomba By Thomas Prior

    Ceremonial bravado, order in chaos, adrenaline and beauty – all appear the striking “Bomba” photography…

  • REM By Florian W. Mueller

    Eerie and beautiful, the REM series made by Cologne-based photographer Florian W. Mueller explores dreams’…

Close Cart

Simple Share Buttons