Cholita Portraits by Delphine Blast

Cholita Portraits by Delphine Blast. 2nd place in Sinchi’s 2017 Photo Competition, celebrating indigenous cultures.

The iconic bowler hat, the long black braids, the adjusted corset, and the brightly coloured puffed skirt: their outfit is well known all around the world. These women retain the characteristic fashion style of the Aymara tradition, from the plains of the Altiplano that surround the capital, La Paz. Yet for decades, they have suffered racial and social discrimination. The term "Cholita", was pejorative then and pointed to the poor country girl. Everything changed in 2006 with the election of Evo Morales, the first Amerindian president in the history of Bolivia. This enhanced the status of the Cholitas and brought them into the public eye. Unimaginable 10 or 20 years ago, they now have real clout in the fashion, economic and even political worlds. The new generation of Cholitas wear their colours of origin with pride. Between tradition and modernity, they manage to express their cultural heritage with dignity and have found their place in modern society.

All photos are available for sale at 499 Euros each. Please contact if interested.

* Sinchi’s 2018 photo competition will soon be open, to enter visit the website at

About Sinchi

Sinchi is a non-profit that upholds the UN's declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and promotes the strength and beauty of indigenous cultures. 

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There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

The inheritors and practitioners of these unique cultures represent a continuum of intellect and creativity throughout history. These are distinct from dominant societies and they have a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things. This is often manifested through ceremony and storytelling with an emphasis on community, cooperation and a responsibility to protect the environment.

Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years, yet throughout history their rights have been repeatedly violated.