top of page
Ferrand Zavala Title Neue Montreal.jpeg


Meet the artist

Carlos Ferrand Zavala and Zoë Tousignant will be present in the gallery to meet the public on:

Saturday September 11, 12pm - 5:30pm

Saturday September 25, 12pm-5:30pm * as part of les Journées de la culture

Saturday October 16, 12pm - 5:30pm


No reservation required. All are welcome!

* please note that the gallery's maximum capacity is of 8 people.

Discussion session

Thursday 21 October, 2pm to 3.30pm

In collaboration with the Labdoc (Research Laboratory on Audiovisual Documentary Practices) of the Université de Québec à Montréal, Carlos Ferrand Zacala and Zoë Tousignant talk with Marco Bertozzi about exhibition Resistencia. Perú, 1970-1975. This session is part of the thematic cycle "Objectivity(s) and editing: practices of reality". 

For more information click here.


Online screening

From October 20 

To close the exhibition, we present Vision de la selva, a film made in 1973 by the Grupo de cine Liberación sin Rodeos, of which Ferrand Zavala was a member. The film is available on our social platforms. For more information click here. 

Screening and discussion

Friday October 8

We are pleased to present a conversation between Carlos Ferrand Zavala and anthropology professor Ingrid Hall, in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology of the Université de Montréal and the Réseau d’études latino-américaines (Latin American Studies Network) (RÉLAM).

Learn more about it here

Collaboration with bookstore Racines

We are pleased to present a selection of books, specially conceived for the exhibition Resistencia. Perú 1970-1975, by Gabriella Kinté, founder of the bookstore Racines.

Visit the exhibition and consult this great selection, and/or stop by the Racines bookstore located at 6524 Saint-Hubert Street to get the books! Here is the website!

Online film screening

Thursday September 9 to Thursday Sep 30

We are pleased to open for viewing one of the emblematic films of Ferrand Zavala's work: Americano, 110 min, documentary, Quebec, Canada, 2007. It will be available from September 9 until September 30 (registration on our website). Many thanks to the director and to Les Films du 3 Mars. 

Register here to stream for free.


Carlos Ferrand Zavala and Zoë Tousignant will be expanding the conversation around the exhibition in our second episode of the SBC audio series. You can find it on our website and social media platforms. 

Listen to the episode here.



An artist’s book on Cimarrones, the first fiction film devoted to the early history of Afro-Peruvians, was produced by Carlos Ferrand Zavala especially for this exhibition. This 95-page book will be available for consultation at the gallery.


This exhibition brings together for the first time photographs and films created by Carlos Ferrand Zavala some fifty years ago. Ferrand Zavala was born in 1946 in Lima, Peru, and at the age of thirty-three he immigrated to Quebec, where he has spent the past forty years building a career as a filmmaker. The works presented in this exhibition were all made in Peru in the early 1970s, during the brief period when Ferrand Zavala worked as a cinematographer for the socialist military government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado. While some were made to promote the government’s agrarian reform, others were personal projects created out of a desire to record and recognize the everyday realities of Peru’s Indigenous peoples. Taken together, these photographs and films represent the young filmmaker’s initial, critical response to the deeply entrenched racism and social inequities of his country of birth, at a time when the promise of social justice was being appealed to, in Peru and elsewhere, as an engine of political discourse. 


Upon returning to Peru in 1970 after studying film at the Institut national d’études cinématographiques in Brussels, Belgium, Ferrand Zavala got a job with the Reforma Agraria and later with the Sistema Nacional de Apoyo a la Movilización Social (SINAMOS), state-funded organizations whose purpose was to raise awareness and popular support for the agrarian reform, a government programme that involved the transferral of vast expanses of land from a few landowners to the mass of agricultural workers – essentially, an attempt to dismantle the feudal system that had remained in place since the colonial period. In 1970, Ferrand Zavala filmed a first documentary short on the takeover of the Casa Grande hacienda, a domain the size of Switzerland that had been owned by the Rockefeller family. And on April 28, 1971, he made a number of photographs of the land that would become Villa El Salvador, a model of self-government and social justice organization. The resulting images, presented as the series Villa El Salvador, capture day one of this historic expropriation in scenes of celebration and the resourceful construction of temporary housing.


That same year, feeling the acute contradiction between this new work and his own privileged background (his family was among the twenty wealthiest in Peru), Ferrand Zavala left home to live in a shantytown located in Chorrillos, on the coast of Lima. For the next two years, he shared a house with the Rojas, an Indigenous family of Quechua descent, to whom he became close and whom he would occasionally photograph as they went about their daily lives. A selection from this body of images, titled La familia Rojas, was made into a photobook by his friend the poet Pablo Vitali, who juxtaposed Ferrand Zavala’s photographs with clippings taken from the country’s major newspapers. The book Occidental y cristiano, intended as a biting critique of the ruling classes’ ignorance of the harsh living conditions of the poor, draws on the absurd contrast between the simplicity of the Rojas’ circumstances and the superficiality of the bourgeois lifestyle.


Ferrand Zavala’s work for SINAMOS and the agrarian reform presented the filmmaker with an opportunity to travel all over the country and to experience first-hand the diversity of its peoples and cultural histories. Many of the films he produced over this period, four of which are included in the exhibition, reflect this awakening to the value of cultural difference – a belief that he would carry with him throughout his career. As visual documents, these films were, in the early 1970s, groundbreaking for their simple depiction of the lives of Black and Indigenous people in Peru, as subjects worthy of representation. Cimarrones, which Ferrand Zavala shot in 1975 and completed in 1982 in Montreal thanks to support from the National Film Board, was – and remains – the only fiction film devoted to the history of Afro-Peruvians. The film, which was based on primary archival research, is composed as a kind of Western in which enslaved Africans are delivered from their oppressors by a band of Cimarrones, or escaped rebels living in freedom. 


For almost fifty years, these photographs and films lay essentially dormant. A number of factors explain this phenomenon: for one, the Velasco government’s ousting came with the wide-reaching repudiation of all that was remotely associated with the revolution. Ferrand Zavala’s exile to Quebec may also have contributed to their neglect, yet for him, it is explained chiefly by the persistence of racist thought, both in Peru and more broadly. In 2011, interest in Ferrand Zavala’s early work was reignited with the inclusion of the book Occidental y cristiano in the anthology The Latin American Photobook, edited by Spanish photography historian Horacio Fernández. As a result, in 2018, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in Madrid, acquired Ferrand Zavala’s series La familia Rojas and Villa El Salvador (the latter is currently on view in the museum’s permanent collection). There has also been a resurgence of interest in the films, and in particular Cimarrones, which has been shown on a number of recent occasions, including in June 2020 as part of the Month of Afro-Peruvian Culture at El Lugar de la Memoria, la Tolerancia y la Inclusión Social (LUM), in Lima, and in January 2021 via the Montreal-based web channel Chaska Films.


This exhibition participates in the re-appreciation and reinterpretation of these works, yet it also seeks to start a conversation about what it means to display such photographs and films today, and here. What are the conditions that have allowed such documents to remain unseen for so long, and how does their contemporary reconsideration change their meaning? How does presenting them here alter the conception of the histories of Quebec photography and film, and how do they relate to the history of the representation of Black and Indigenous people in Quebec? These questions, like Ferrand Zavala’s works, offer an invitation to pursue the discussion.

Text by curator, Zoë Tousignant


Carlos Ferrand Zavala was born in Lima, Peru. From there to Brussels, Paris and Vermont he spent several years wandering about, with film always at the core of his interests. Québec adopted him in 1980. He has worked for over 50 years as a screenwriter and director and has collaborated as director of photography on many films, both in fiction and documentary. His directed films include Cimarrones, Americano, 13, a ludodrama about Walter Benjamin and Jongué, a nomad’s journey. Through the years, photography has been his constant and private companion. He lives in Montréal with his family.




Zoë Tousignant is a photography historian and curator based in Montréal. Her independent curatorial projects include Serge Clément: Archipel (Occurrence, 2018), Marisa Portolese: Belle de Jour III (FOFA Gallery, 2016) and Campeau, Carrière, Clément: Accumulations (Galerie Simon Blais, 2015). She has worked as associate curator of photography at the McCord Museum, where she produced the exhibition and book Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980 (2017; 2019). She has also worked as a curator at Artexte, where she organized the exhibition Canadian Photography Magazines, 1970-1990 (2016). Her essays have been published in numerous catalogues and monographs, and in such periodicals as Ciel variable, Border Crossings and Canadian Art.

bottom of page