Nelita, 2010 by Kevin Kunishi
Quilali, 2010 by Kevin Kunishi
Museo de los martyres, 2010 by Kevin Kunishi
Mario's grenade, 2010 by Kevin Kunishi
Mario Zelaya, 2010 by Kevin Kunishi
Kevin Kunishi has an MFA in photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He has been based in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2004, where he continues work on numerous projects, both at home and around the globe. His work has been recognized by American Photo, PDN, CMYK Magazine, Photographer's Forum, the New York Photo Festival, Blue Earth Alliance, Review Santa Fe and Prix de la Photographie, Paris (PX3).
After receiving my undergraduate degree with an emphasis on U.S. foreign policy in Central America, I wanted to move beyond the broad recital of policy and ideology within textbooks and explore the personal experiences of individuals directly affected by those policies. This body of work was created between the years 2009 and 2011, during a prolonged stay in the highlands of Northern Nicaragua. These photographs are from a larger series consisting of portraits of Sandinistas and their opposing Contra veterans, as well as artifacts and landscapes significant to the civil war that took place in Nicaragua during the 1980s. In 1979, after over a decade of struggle, the socialist Sandinista movement in Nicaragua overthrew the dictator, Anastasio Somoza. The Sandinistas quickly began the work of applying their social and ideological values in the hopes of creating a better Nicaragua. Unfortunately, the United States government had other plans. In the cold war environment of the 1980s, the prospect of a socialist/communist government gaining a foothold in Central America was deemed unacceptable. The CIA began financing, arming and training a clandestine rebel insurgency to destabilize the government. These anti-Sandinista guerrillas became known as Contras. Between 1980 and 1990, Nicaragua became the battleground of conflicting political ideologies; the promise of a bright future was lost as the nation descended into civil war. Although these two sides held polarized political philosophies, their survivors are united by the burden of a war-torn history. As political ideology evolves, dilutes or disappears, the horrors of war endure.