Koral Carballo
Koral Carballo
Koral Carballo
Koral Carballo
Koral Carballo
Koral Carballo

This series is a visual exploration on the construction of an imaginary with the oral story of a town in Veracruz called Coyolillo, an Afro-Mexican community in the south of Mexico—reframing their history to one of freedom.

The first settlers of this area were humans from Africa who were forced to work in the haciendas of the slavers. In the municipality of Actopan in Veracruz, people from the Congo and Angola worked on the haciendas in the central region of the state of Veracruz during the 16th and 17th centuries. Coyolillo’s grandparents tell how the slave owner of the hacienda of San Miguel de Almolonga forced the Africans to work in deplorable conditions with only one day of rest per year.

Thus, the oral story of the people tells that the African ancestors organized a party to give space to the celebration of freedom. Over the years, it has been transformed into a carnival. The main characters of this celebration are the “disguised” or “Jejés”, who cover their faces and transform themselves into animals with antlers (bulls, cows, and deer) in performance within the community. This story is an allegory of the oral history of this ancestral tradition of freedom that comes from Africa that is preserved in a hidden village in the valley of Mozambique, in Veracruz, Mexico.

Artist Bios

  • Koral Carballo

    Koral Carballo (b. Poza Rica, Veracruz, Mexico in 1987) tells stories related to identity, violence, and territory—dissolving frontiers between photojournalism and visual arts.

    She is the recipient of the Catchlight Fellowship (2021), POY LATAM’s Second Place Nuestra Mirada Award (2021), the Woman Photograph and Getty Images Grant (2019), an Open Society Foundations Moving Walls 25 Fellowship (2018), and she received first place in the Latin American Photography Colloquium Portfolio Review (2017).

    Carballo collaborates with the Ruda Collective. She also belongs to the organizations Foto FéminasFotógrafas en México, Frontline Freelance Mexico, Diversify Photo and Women Photograph.

    In 2014, along with a group of Veracruz photojournalists, Carballo founded the Mirar Distinto International Festival of Journalistic and Documentary Photography in Mexico, which she currently co-produces.


  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

  • Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation

    Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation

    The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation helps fund important endeavors promoting photographic education and documentary photography across the United States. Its goal is to raise awareness of and appreciation for the field of photography as well as the photographers themselves. The Foundation has helped to fund projects and programs at dozens of nonprofit institutions over the years and takes pride in its hands-on approach and the relationships it has fostered.

Mystery Of The Disguised

 archive : 2021

Featuring: Koral Carballo

Curated by: Koral Carballo

Presented by: Photoville, Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation
  • Photoville
  • Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation


View Location Details Brooklyn Bridge Park – The Beach

Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway,
NY 11201

Location open 24 hours

Thanks to my friends in Coyolillo: Octavio López Zaragoza, Silvia López, Omar López, Yoel Zaragoza, Liz Morales, Génaro López, Genia Carreto, Rafael Carranza, Chela Carranza, Henry, Jared, Jair León, Efraín León, Vanely López, and Jesús López. Without you and your collaboration and friendship this work would not have been possible.

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings