by Johis Alarcón / Edu León
Avenue “24 de Mayo” was started being built in 1899, and without intending to, turned into the first neighborhood of the Elite society of Quito of the XX century. But in the middle of the century, since the discovery of oil in the country, the elegance of the high society living in the place moved to the north of the city, leading to the urban transformation that followed years later.
Everyday life of 24 de Mayo was affected, the buisnesses and popular culture activities were eliminated from the neighborhood, which hosted the first cross-province bus terminal. It became the center of the city, which later became the historic center.
Nowadays, the zone remains in the memory of the citizens of the capital as a symbol of robbery, prostitution, poverty and migration, even though these are not its only characteristics. It also has valuable and unknown traditional and cultural knowledge that have been excluded by the big remodelation and public regeneration plans of the city, the building of franchises and the proptitization of the museable space that invades and theatens to unlink the local community.
The construction of the 24 de Mayo Boulevard visually transformed the place, but has invisibilized the social constructions and excluded the locals, who hide in their homes or go out to work and return to rest by night. This is how the neighborhood turned into a nocturnal desert. This photographic project pretends to recover the soul of the antique houses, the old an new inhabitants of the neighborhood of yesteryear. To show the magic hidden between their stories and their lives. Not just the architectural and empty space that the patrimonial postals show, but the entirely of what forms the 24 de Mayo.
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