Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Studio Arts

Project Advisor 1

Ken Buhler

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Artist Statement:

As a first generation Mexican-American I feel closer to my Mexican heritage- the culture, language, and traditions- than the American component of that equation. However, I have developed a love/hate relationship with my roots. Mexico is where most of my family lives, the place where my heritage shines. Yet, this is the same place where danger is everywhere in certain states. The drug war created an increase of crime—kidnapping, murder—that inspire amateur criminals who only look for ransom money. The divisions between crimes made by drug cartel, the government and amateur criminals are blurred. These crimes are becoming a norm in Mexico. As a result, people live in fear, untrusting of everyone, and voiceless in terror of putting themselves or their family in danger for speaking up.

Friday September 26, 2014- IGUALA, MEXICO

43 college students went missing on this date. These students were from a notable teacher’s college from a poorer region of the country. They were on their way to a protest against the government preferring to fund urban schools and hire those graduates. As a result, rural schools in need of funding and the educated rural alumni in need of employment were overlooked. The students never arrived to their destination. To this day it's a mystery what happened. Two years after their disappearance two bodies have been confirmed. The rest are unknown. The Mexican government is giving false information and wants to stop the investigation. The living survivors are the students’ families. Sunday April 29, 2012-JOJUTLA, MEXICO A nightmare I never woke up from. I am a living survivor of my uncle who was murdered on this date and I struggle daily to look forward for the future. Losing someone in this way creates an unexplainable rollercoaster of emotions. No one can know how this feels unless they have experienced it as well. Worst of all is the absence of a clear story of who did it and why and what exactly happened.

On April 24, 2016, two weeks before my Senior Show opening, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) gave their final report of the investigation. They were forced leave, with the case unresolved, as requested by the Mexican government. Their year investigating the case regarding the disappearance of the 43 students overlapped with my time working on my senior project. Both of us were trying to piece together the reality. They focused on the truth of what exactly happened September 26th while I tried to come to terms with their inexistence in this world. We are left unsettled with our results, just as the tens of thousands of other lives unexplainably murdered or missing in the beautiful country called Mexico.

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