Priti Baiks

At the heart of the admirable series of portraits by Panamanian photographer José Castrellón are the countless modes of expressions featured in the bicycles.

Priti Baiks by José Castrellón is a series of portraits of men who displat tons of creative ingenuity and dedicate a good amount of their meager resources to decorate and equipe their humble bicycles and integral part of their own identity.

Castrellón is an enthusiastic traveler who has searched for them in streets and alleys of towns and cities all over Panama. Each encounter is an opportunity to start a conversation that may lead to a portrait of the prud cyclist. These portraits could be read as a sign of the Latin American macho idiosyncrasy. Some men venerate their cars (or, by default, their bikes) and seem to care more for them than their own families, perhaps a way to sublimate myriad of economic and social frustrations. This reading may be valid, but lame. At the heart of this admirable series of photographs are the countless modes of expressions featured in the bicycles (...).

The term "priti baiks" is an evident parody of "pretty bikes". However prity – widely used among young urban Panamanians – does not exactly mean "pretty". Something is prity when it possesses an ingenious and striking grace. And no doubt these bikes are priti. Their extreme functionality (they are their owners' only vehicles of transportation and possibly their most important means of survival) goes to show that the aestheticization of the everyday is vitally important to many. Adrienne Samos


Born in Panama in 1980, José Castrellón documents the period he lives in, and in particular the social changes caused by galloping consumerism and urbanisation, with portraits that are nonetheless imbued with a certain poetry. He has exhibited in Latin America, the United States and Europe, and in 2009 he received the IILA-FotoGrafia Prize awarded by the Italo-Latin American Institute in Rome. He lives and works in Panama. The exhibition "Priti Baiks" will be inaugurated on 17 September at the Musée du Quai Branly, curator: Claudi Carreras.

For its 4th edition, the Photoquai photography biennial is settling on the banks of the Seine, in the garden of the musée du quai Branly, for a two-month period, to present the unpublished works of 40 non-European photographers. This year, all the images presented relate to the human figure: landscapes, objects, fashion or architecture appear in the form of elements that accompany the human being.

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