Visual ethnography on Ecuavolley

Visual ethnography experiment on Ecuavolley: a game and a tradition beyond Ecuador.

Timeline: October 2022 – December 2022 (2 months)

Approach: ethnography, visual art, illustration, desk research.
Topics: migration, community building, gender roles.

My role: researcher, designer, and illustrator.

Project details

Ecuavoley is a sport invented in Ecuador at the beginning of the 1900s and is very popular. Some people even say it is more popular than soccer. It is similar to volleyball but has different rules: the mesh is higher, it is played with a soccer ball, and instead of six players, each team is made up of three players. The setter (Spanish: colocador), the flyer (volador), and the server (servidor).

It is currently practiced not only in Ecuador but also by Ecuadorian diaspora in Colombia, Peru, Chile, the United States, Switzerland, Italy, France, England, Spain, Belgium and Sweden.

Since 2004, the Ecuadorian immigrant community in Bushwick has gathered almost every day in Maria Hernandez park to play, laugh, eat, and bet on Ecuavolley games.

This project is a visual ethnography experiment on Ecuavolley and the Maria Hernandez park. It started with the curiosity of belonging to a new neighborhood in a new city and then became in a project that involved hours of desk research and more than 20 site visits.

During these visits, I talked to people, observed the dynamics of the entire park, watched many games, ate Ecuadorian food, and tried to get to know a bit better this close community through the excitement of Ecuavolley games. As a final summary of this time, I created a zine with my research, reflections, feelings, and experiences.