Photographer Todd Antony documents Bolivia’s best-dressed wrestlers in a new series, Flying Cholitas. The women, who are indigenous Aymara, compete in their sport wearing voluminous petticoats, colorful skirts, and long-sleeved lacy tops rather than in the minimal, form-fitting spandex worn by many athletes around the world.
These ensembles resemble ones that Aymara were expected—sometimes even required—to wear during five centuries of oppression under Spanish occupiers. The wrestlers wear these ensembles to show pride in their history and take back their visibility. Similarly, the identifier “cholita,” originally a derogatory term, has been reclaimed in recent years by indigenous Bolivians as a point of pride.
If you’re curious to see the athletes in action, Luisa Dörr and Michael James Johnson were commissioned by Apple to shoot a short documentary on the flying cholitas, which you can watch below. Aymara architect Freddy Mamani has also championed indigenous Bolivian aesthetics with his buildings, which we’ve covered previouslyon Colossal.