The silence of farewell

Shortlist 2021

Omar Lucas

Omar Lucas is a documentary photographer who commits long-term projects throughout his home country of Peru, exploring issues such as human rights, environment and identity.

The Problem

The silence of farewell

With more than 180 thousand deaths, Peru has become the country with the highest death rate in the world from COVID. It was useless that it was one of the first nations in America to declare a health emergency and close its borders. The country has not been able to reduce the transfer of the virus or have well-equipped hospitals. The arrival of COVID has also led to a total transformation in funeral rituals. During the strictest quarantine, and in a country accustomed since pre-hispanic times to bury their deceased, the government decreed that all bodies be cremated for fear of possible contagion. The houses then began to be filled with small white urns. When the crematoria began to collapse, burials were allowed again with exceptional security measures. Now only five relatives can accompany the coffins. There is no music either. Meanwhile, the cemeteries continue to fill up so much that there are only spaces left in the highest parts of the desolate hills on which they are located.