The Mexican Memory of the World Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to include the Photographic Archive of Mariana Yampolsky in the registry of this program, whose objectives are to recognize the importance of the documentary heritage of mankind, promote its conservation and access to it.


The application for this collection was presented jointly by the Ibero-American University of Mexico City (IBERO), an institution where the photographer's archive resides since 2018, and the Image Center, an institution of the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico, which aims to disseminate, preserve and reflect on photography through exhibitions, educational programs, publications and the creation of a collection.

“We thank the UNESCO Memory of the World Mexican Committee, the experts who evaluated the application, for recognizing the documentary and artistic value of the photographic work of Mariana Yampolsky, an artist who loved Mexico and knew how to portray it in a unique way. We endorse the commitment to preserve and disseminate her work so that more and more audiences know the depth it", said the Secretary of Culture of the Government of Mexico, Alejandra Frausto Guerrero.

Mariana Gertrude Yampolsky Urbach was born on September 6, 1925 in Chicago, United States. In 1945, after graduating from the University of Chicago, she moved to Mexico City to join the Taller de la Gráfica Popular, a collective of artists with a strong political commitment. There, alongside figures such as Leopoldo Méndez and Pablo O'Higgins, she began in the art of engraving. Yampolsky was a student at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving "La Esmeralda", located near the Citadel, in the center of the city.

She started in photography when she attended a workshop with Lola Álvarez Bravo; had a trajectory of five decades, recorded through her gaze and the lenses of her cameras daily life, the patron saint, religious and family festivities of the Mexican peoples, their nature and their architecture, as well as the innocence and sensitivity of girls, boys, women and men through their portraits. She loved Mexico and its people deeply and in 1954 she became a Mexican citizen.

Mariana Yampolsky died in Mexico City on May 3, 2002. Before she died, she established the Mariana Yampolsky Cultural Foundation, which began the process of cataloging and preserving her photographic archive. In 2018, after this Foundation was dissolved, Mr. Arjen Van der Sluis, who was the photographer's husband, decided to donate Mariana's photographic archive and personal library to the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City campus. In 2020, IBERO assigned the Image Center the rights to 131 works (126 photographs and five prints) that make up the retrospective exhibition Mariana Yampolsky: Memory Image.

In 2022, IBERO and the Centro de la Imagen, in collaboration and with their own activities, will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Mariana Yampolsky's death.

Related Topics