For more than two decades after the artist’s death, Baldomeros Alejos’ peaceful images of Ayachuco society remained in the darkness of storage as the violence of irrational terrorism ravaged the city of Ayachuco and eventually all of Peru.
After Baldomero Alejos’ death in 1976, the photographic archive remained in Ayacucho for more than 25 years. The bigger part of the archive was given to Walter Alejos, Baldomero’s son, who continued his father’s commercial work, while a small part of the archive remained with Baldomero’s daughter, Nelly. In 1988, as a result of the growing political violence in Ayacucho, Walter and his family moved to Lima although the archive, because of hazards of transportation, remained in Ayacucho.
During the dark days of the Sendero Luminoso which ended in 2000, Walter Alejos, a photographer himself, kept his father’s pictures hidden in storage. At the end of this painful episode in Peruvian history, the Alejos archive was discovered and its testimony of a peaceful time in Ayacucho history inspired the Peruvian population as they began to rebuild their society. The archive is also instrumental in changing the image of Ayacucho from a symbol of internal conflict to city of peace and national reconciliation In 1997, the family decided to begin the preparation of the Baldomero Alejos archive. Under Walter’s leadership, photographers and institutions became involved in the preservation of the more than 60,000 negatives. After some initial difficulties, the family consulted Veronica Janssen who began a detailed study of the needs of this valuable historical and artistic archive.
Using the Alejos family’s own funds, and with the help of private and public institutions, the stabilization and preparation of the negatives began in the year 2000. The work started in the Walter Alejos’ home, and with the assistance of his children, and Mayu Mohanna’s advice , they began the arduous task of cleaning and archiving the large number of negatives and prints. Later, with the help of private institutions like the Universidad Católica del Perú, they started the printing of the most representative images.
That work resulted in an exhibition of the first representative examples of the Alejos archive which took place in the ICPNA (Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano) of Miraflores, Peru in November 2001. This exhibition was the beginning of Peru’s awareness of Baldomero’ Alejos artistic and historic legacy.
Soon other nations in the world joined in the acclaim of this important artist. The show was very successful and resulted in a book about Baldomero Alejos. As a result of the show, it became even more evident that there was a strong need for the preservation, restoration, and cataloguing of the more than 60,000 negatives and prints.
The family Alejos would like to thank very much the persons and institutions, which made possible the preparation of the photographic archive of Baldomero Alejos. We are sure, that this contribute to enrich even more our beautiful cultural assets of the nation.