House in Los Cuchumatanes, San Mateo Ixtatán, Guatemala

  • Series: 
    Faraway Brother Style
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Inkjet print on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    61 x 92 cm
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  • Long-term loan of Museo Reina Sofía Foundation (USA), 2021 (Donation of Mario Cáder-Frech)

The series Faraway Brother Style is a nod to renowned architecture publications like London Style, NY Style and Paris Style in creating a record of popular architecture in El Salvador built by the families of emigrants using money sent to them through remittances, primarily from the USA. This “remittance architecture” depicts a social context shaped by flows of impoverished workers travelling North and the circulation of remittances in dollars travelling South, upholding household economies and constituting a significant part of the GDP of Central American countries such as El Salvador. Salient aspects in Walterio Iraheta’s series are the unfinished houses, and the promise of forthcoming prosperity they symbolise, for instance the openly visible steel rods that bear witness to the discontinuation of construction and the illusion of new floors.
An equivalent in Spain would be the Indiano architecture — built by wealthy returnee emigrants — from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly the residential housing that can still be found in rural areas of Galicia and Asturias. Eclecticism, the ornament and disproportionate scales reconcile this emigrant architecture from both sides of the Atlantic.

Suset Sánchez Sánchez