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Andrea Salerno

Andrea Salerno, b. 1978, , Miranda, Venezuela.
Lives and works between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE.

Colombian-Venezuelan photographer, Andrea grew up between the Andean mountains and the Caribbean sea. She studied photography at the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya. In 2009 went to Argentina as a jury member for the Latin American Film Festival and for 12 years she ran her photo studio in Rosario. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and published in magazines, newspapers, books, and large advertisement billboards around the world. Andrea has given countless lectures and workshops on photography and food culture in South America. Today, she is a full member of Diversify Photo (NY, USA), works as a cultural manager in the Embassy of Colombia to the UAE, and keeps working as a licensed freelance photographer between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

When I think of the UAE I think of the discovery of the ephemeral as a state of things, of life. This speaks much more of the strength behind the print that remains and that changed places also, like the dunes of the desert. Because that which moves is matter to create; it’s life. 

Understanding the place from which you come to create in the place where you are. 

This is my first and most important revelation so far and from which I begin to understand the deep connection between the Middle East and Venezuela and the Middle East and Argentina. Especially when it comes to gastronomy. And it is not as simple as the use of spices, but also the way in which we share food, the importance of the family ritual of cooking and, above all, the generous sharing of food. 

Perhaps there is nothing more ephemeral than food. It certainly traces a memory but its passage through our lives is ephemeral because, even if it is a repetitive ritual, we will never eat the same thing even if we were to cook the same recipe, just as the desert is never the same at daybreak. 

For this reason, thinking of gastronomy as an intangible migrant, which takes shape once it has run aground in a kitchen, personally inspires me to continue in this state of fascination that comes to life when I recognize similarities between cultures, showing that our stories always intersect with each other. 

The Middle East, as seen from Latin America -be it Venezuela or Argentina-, seems very far away and yet feels so close. 

Those are the sparks from which the narrative of my photographic projects is nourished and which, here, in the United Arab Emirates, I find everywhere: the distances, the proximity, and the intersections between cultures. Because in the end, between cultures, we store more stories in common than differences.

So, perhaps, storing is that exercise of memory, with which the ephemeral revives, again and again, changing the state of life and of things. The storage of memory, that intangible that transforms the ephemeral and gives it substance, like a flavor or a recipe.

Andrea Salerno J. 

Abu Dhabi, April of 2022.

The hand of Vijay Kumar Gupta covered in curry powder. Vijay traveled 15.896 km between Madhya Pradesh, India, and Rosario, Argentina in search of the absolute opposite of what he has known.
The hand of Robby Glésile stained with beetroot juice. 
Robby Glésile, Elyse Pierre and Olivier Danache covered the 5.860 kms. between Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Rosario, Argentina, bringing Caribbean joy and a history of resilience to their hearts.
The hand of Lidia Perella i Puig, holding pieces of cinnamon stick. Lidia Perella i Puig traveled along with her family the 10.472 km between Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain and Rosario, Argentina when she was a little girl. Today, seventy years later she still feels Sant Fruitós as her home, holding savoury and sweet memories of her birth land.
The hand of Ernesto Flores Meléndrez holding Mexican chili guajillo. 
7.482 was the number of kilometers traveled by Ernesto Flores Meléndrez between Guadalajara, Mexico and Rosario, Argentina. And his story is the story of an ancient comal and the spicy side of a wanderlust heart.
The hand of Francisco Sala holding a chocolate cookie; an Argentinian “Chocolina”.  When Francisco Sala flew that 13,817 km that separated Rosario, Argentina from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, little he would know that ten years later he would be reinventing his life in the sweetest way possible.


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