Revisiting Nicaragua 1978–1979
Meiselas was one of very few American photographers to bear witness to the revolution in Nicaragua, which culminated in 1979 with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrowing the forty-year dictatorship of the Somoza family. Meiselas photographed life under the Somoza regime during its decline, capturing the devastating personal and collective toll of the insurrection on Nicaraguans. Today, nearly forty years later, there is an ongoing, unarmed civilian resistance movement in Nicaragua against the government of President Daniel Ortega, a member of the FSLN. Two diptychs in the exhibition—in which Meiselas’ original images are paired with photographs she took of their reappearance in street murals in Nicaragua many years later—speak to the passage of time, the collision of past and present, and the lasting imprint of images on history and collective memory.
An AR (augmented reality) feature, which was developed for the 2016 Aperture reissue of the original Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 monograph (1981), can be activated in the gallery. Using the Look & Listen app, visitors can use their mobile devices to hover over a selection of images and access clips from Meiselas’ films Pictures from a Revolution (1991), in which she returns to Nicaragua to speak with people she originally photographed in ’78 and ’79, and Reframing History (2004), which documents Meiselas’ collaboration with local communities to place mural-sized images of her original photographs back into the city and the landscape at the sites where they were originally made.