The enormous number of people who disappear every day in Mexico has inspired an artwork called “Footprints of Memory”. It will be launched in London on 20 March and will be accompanied by the screening of a documentary and a panel discussion focused on this phenomenon.
Latin America, internationally renowned as the continent of magical realism, often offers up stories and figures that are difficult to believe.
One such story has come to light through Human Rights Watch, with a plot centred around the forced disappearances of individuals in Mexico. According to HRW, 149 of these 250 disappearances involved government agents. As a percentage, this means that a person whose salary is paid by the Mexican taxpayer is implicated in 60% of these crimes.
These disappearances reflect a strategy implemented in the past few decades by criminal gangs, and they mainly affect Central-American immigrants, who represent one of the most disadvantaged groups in Mexican society.
This is the frightening reality brought to light by the event “Huellas de la Memoria: buscando los desaparecidos de Mexico” (Footprints of memory, Looking for disapeared from Mexico): an exhibition created by Mexican artist Alfredo López Casanova. In this work, the creator shows how he collected dozens of shoes from relatives of those who had disappeared who were looking for their loved ones. The artist wrote messages on the soles of these shoes.
Having been shown in Mexico, the exhibit will be on display in London from 20 March to 31 March. Further information can be found here.
There will also be another dimension to the exhibition, as an event will take place on 21 March to give the wider context for this work of art.
The day will start with a screening of the documentary “Ausencias” (“Absences”), which tells the story of a mother whose husband and 8-year-old son disappeared from one day to the next.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion led by Leandro Vergara-Camus, from SOAS, University of London. He will be joined by Miriam Haddu (also from the University of London), María de Vecchi Gerli (from London Mexico Solidarity) and the artist Alfredo López Casanova.
María de Jesús will also be participating. She is the mother of one of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa who disappeared on 26 September 2014, who has been looking for her son José Eduardo ever since.
Date: Tuesday 21 March 2017 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Location: B102 Brunei Gallery, SOAD, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, WC1H 0XG
Further information can be found here.
Photos: Pixabay – (Translated by: Roz Harvey)