Remembering Dr. Eloy Linares Málaga

In so many ways, what I love the most about the initial serendipitous moments of meeting someone, is having no real idea of who they are ... In that lack of insight, we get to see each and every character purely for whom they present in that short time we share.

Dr Eloy Linares Málaga was just a friendly elderly gentlemen in a Peruvian cafe when I first met him ... it wasn't until after I drew him that I found out he was infact a renowned historian and anthropologist specialising in Peruvian Rock Art, and one of those fantastic encounters where even now I’m adding to his story.

Through some random set of circumstances I recently found a series of wonderful photos of him by Carlos Subia Narvaez which I thought I’d follow up to see if I could get an update on how the professor is ... Sadly I received a letter from Gabriela Alosilla Martínez, a journalist in Arequipa, advising me of his passing in 2011.

What was lovely, was that complete strangers on the other side of the world, both Gabriela and Carlos, took the time to follow up my curiosity and sent me not only the news, but even the extract from the paper of his hommage.

Above: My Lifelines portrait of Dr. Eloy Linares Málaga 2008 alongside a photo from the session where he holds up one of his publications.

The extract from my diary of our meeting:

The Professor

Thursday, January 3, 2008

“We stopped at a little cafe today whilst exploring the town of Arequipa. As we walked in there was a friendly elderly gentlemen sitting there who gave us a beaming smile.

As there was a group of us, and I wasn’t super keen for a big meal, I thought I’d see if he’d be another one of my subjects ... turned out, he was very flattered and with my poor attempt at Spanish and his lack of English ... we managed a very funny conversation consisting of mostly pictograms and sign language from which I found out surprisingly a lot about him.

He turned out to be a professor at the university teaching Archeology and specialising in Peruvian Rock Art ... he produced a couple of books he’d written about them and despite being in Spanish, they were really interesting, with a whole lot of diagrams in them of the art he was trying to tell me about ... I’d never even heard of ‘Inca cave drawings’ before!

He explained that they were all located half an hour away from here and if we had a day to spare he would happily take us out there to check them out ... sadly we don’t, but it would have been so cool.

He loved his portrait, and we promised to stay in touch. 

If I return I might have to take him up on his offer - how awesome would be to have a real actual archeologist specialising in the Inca showing you around.”

Eloy Linares Málaga dies aged 84

Article written for DEMOTIX (Network for Freelance Photojournalists)
September 11th, 2009 by Carlos Subia Narvaez

“Renowned historian and anthropologist Eloy Linares Málaga dies on January 17, 2011, at age 84 following a series of strokes. The following are intimate portraits of him at his house and studio in 2009. Arequipa, Peru. 11/09/2009

A series of intimate portraits showing me his personal library and home prior to his hommage at the 1st Arequipa International Book Fair, Fil 2009. Along with fellow academics, poetry patriarch Jose Ruis Rosas and historian Eusebio Quiróz Paz-Soldán, Linares was honored in public ceremony.”

Email from Gabriela:

Hi, I’m Gabriela. I write to you for your publication in the page of the FIL Arequipa, about the Dr. Eloy Linares Málaga. He died in 2011. I’m journalist and  wrote in the local newspaper his death. I enclosure the cut.

I’m sorry, my English is not good



Gabriela Alosilla Martínez

See the other Lifelines portraits and photos from the Peru trip.