Crookes&Jackson create The Silver-men, Potosi, Bolivia.

CrookesAndJackson travelled to Bolivia, South America, to create 'Silver-men' the miners of Potosi.

Famous for the riches that have been blasted out of the Cerro Rico Mountain since 1545, Potosi, on the dramatic Bolivian Altiplano, is South America's most elevated town. The silver coaxed from the mountain became the foundation of the Spanish Empire, and, at its peak in the seventeenth century, Potosi was one of the world's wealthiest cities. Now it shudders every day at midday and out of its depths miners appear out of tunnels, their bodies silvered with the mountain's addictive dust.

Each morning the miners make their way up the mountain side, they buy coca leaves and dynamite from market stalls along the way. Throughout the day they chew on the leaves, storing them in a bulge in one cheek - this helps numb the effects of altitude, hunger and fatigue. Since the government stopped mining in the 80's, it has become each man for himself. The miners crawl down man-made tunnels, dig a hole and plug a stick of dynamite into it - then they count the burn time by measuring with their hands - from baby finger to thumb is one minute. Ten 'hands' measure the 10min for the miner to reach the exit. Then "boom" the mountain shakes and the miners spill out - their stories written into their silver wrinkles.

Recent Posts