“conSECUENCIAS / conSEQUENCES” highlights the evolution of photography and its role in creating public narratives of community life and social movements in Chiapas, Mexico.
Featuring: Jose Angel Rodriguez, Maruch Santiz, Tragameluz Collective
Pablo J. Farias and Isaac Guzman
This exhibit highlights the role of photography in creating public narratives of life struggles and social movements in Chiapas, Mexico. It builds on the media awareness generated by the Zapatista indigenous rebellion of 1994. Since then, social and political conflicts have led to displacement and confrontation, often generating multiple narratives of these events. In this process, local actors have appropriated photography as a tool for visual expression and storytelling, moving it away from academic and traveler photography. Events and their consequences have led the photographers included in this exhibit to social participation, and through their work, to shape public narratives and memory. In our view, photographs have (con)sequences, both in their sequence and in their political and social contexts.
The work is represented through three portfolios. The first is the work of José Angel Rodríguez, who has chronicled the experience of displaced populations in Chiapas for over 40 years. The second portfolio, by Maruch Santiz, explores a set of traditional beliefs in her Tsotsil Maya community, developing a rich visual language on the importance of traditional knowledge for family and community life. The third element of the exhibit is a portfolio by the Tragameluz collective, covering the teacher union resistance to educational reforms in 2016 and exposing the violent repression they confronted.
José Angel Rodríguez has chronicled the experience of displaced populations in Chiapas for over 40 years. Through his photography and teaching, José Angel has nurtured the development of a new generation of photographers, translating his experience of many years as an assistant in the darkroom to the iconic Mexican photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo.
Maruch Santíz started her work as a photographer in 1996, as part of the Indigenous Photography Archive of Chiapas. Focusing on developing a visual narrative for the traditional knowledge and beliefs of her Tsotsil Maya community, Maruch explores the conditions of life in the Chiapas Highlands. She is currently a fellow of Mexico’s National Fund for Culture and Arts.
Tragameluz Collective is an umbrella organization for photographers working in Chiapas, México. Tragameluz has promoted the development of visual discourses based on collective and community experiences for close to 20 years. In the absence of inclusive media spaces for photojournalism in Mexico, and given the risks of violence associated with this work, photographers have joined in collective groups. These groups support their work, provide some degree of anonymity and protection, and help articulate a communal narrative that informs local and national dialogues about social justice in Mexico.
Bats’i Lab is a not-for-profit platform that promotes photography in Chiapas, Mexico. It seeks to expand linkages nationally and internationally for Chiapas photographers, providing analog and digital resources, as well as editorial support. In collaboration with Tragameluz, a photographer collective, and Galería MUY, it supports exhibits and promotes photography linkages to other art forms, particularly among the indigenous Maya and Zoque communities of Chiapas, Mexico.