Cristina Bubba Zamora

1998 Laureate, Cultural Heritage
Bolivia, Born 1953

Project Goal

Return stolen cultural artefacts to Andean communities

Location: Bolivia

Since 1998, Cristina Bubba Zamora has fought to return sacred Andean weavings to the communities from which they were stolen.

Cristina Bubba Zamora, born in Bolivia in 1953, has dedicated her life to conserving the sacred textiles of the Bolivian Andes, which have been stolen by unscrupulous foreign art dealers.

Her interest in the indigenous communities’ ties to the weavings stems from her social psychology studies in La Paz and the inspiration she received from the foremost expert on Andean civilization, John V. Murra.

In 1988, spurred on by news of a stolen weaving, Bubba Zamora set out on a successful quest to retrieve the textile. She received a Rolex Award in 1998 for her efforts to safeguard her country’s cultural patrimony.

Many weavings recovered in North America have been returned to Bolivia and are now housed in La Paz’s National Museum. Bubba Zamora, director of the Illa Foundation, created a photo exhibit of the textiles and is currently writing a book about the repatriation of ceremonial weavings, as well as lobbying foreign governments to persuade them to adopt tougher laws against trafficking in cultural property.

Other 1998 Laureates