Between 1980 and 1990 Nicaragua became the battleground of conflicting political ideologies. As a result, the nation would descend into civil war. This series consists of portraits of Sandinistas and their opposing Contra veterans, as well as artifacts and landscapes significant to that volatile era.
In 1979, after over a decade of struggle, the socialist Sandinista movement in Nicaragua overthrew the famously corrupt dictator, Anastasio Somoza. The Sandinistas quickly began the work of applying their social and ideological values in the hopes of creating a better Nicaragua. Unfortunately, the United States government had other plans. In the cold war environment of the 1980s, the prospect of a socialist/communist government gaining a foothold in Central America was deemed unacceptable. The CIA began financing, arming and training a clandestine rebel insurgency to destabilize the government. These anti-Sandinista guerrillas became known as the contras. Between 1980 and 1990, Nicaragua would become the battleground of sharply conflicting political ideologies; the promise of a bright future was lost as the nation descended into civil war. Although these two sides held polarized political philosophies, both in their foundation and practice, their survivors are united by the burden of a war-torn history. This series consists of portraits of Sandinistas and their opposing Contra veterans, as well as artifacts and landscapes significant to that volatile era.
Kevin Kunishi has been based in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2004, where he continues work on numerous projects both at home and around the globe. His work has been recognized by The New Yorker, American Photo Magazine, the New York Photo Festival, The Blue Earth Alliance, PDNedu, CMYK magazine, Photographer’s Forum and Prix de la Photographie, Paris (PX3)