Ayotzinapa: Roar of Silence
AYOTZINAPA: A ROAR OF SILENCE
On display February through June 2016
On September 26, 2014, students from the Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa in the Mexican state of Guerrero boarded buses to attend a demonstration in Mexico City commemorating the anniversary of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, in which as many as 3,000 students were killed by Mexican police officers and military troops.
On their way to Mexico City, the students were to stop in the small town of Iguala to protest a political event held by the mayor and his wife. As the students arrived in Iguala, the buses were violently intercepted by local police. While details of the confrontation remain unclear, the police eventually opened fire, killing six and wounding twenty-five. Another 43 student teachers were witnessed being herded into police vehicles—and never seen again. After months of inaction and incompetence, the Mexican government released an official statement claiming that the Iguala police had handed the students over to a local drug cartel, the Guerreros Unidos, who later incinerated all 43 bodies in a nearby garbage dump. While the Mexican government hoped to close the case on the missing students, experts have pointed out that their claims are implausible, inconsistent, and scientifically unsound. The families of the missing students—with the support of the international community—continue to search for the truth.
Just eight weeks after the disappearances, internationally renowned artist and activist Francisco Toledo, in conjunction with the Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO), launched an open call encouraging artists from all over the world to submit work centered on the 43 missing students for an exhibition titled Carteles de Ayotzinapa. Over seven hundred pieces were submitted by artists from Mexico, Iran, Poland, Spain, Portugal, China, Greece, and more. The final forty-three were displayed at the Museo de Memoria y Tolerancia in Mexico City, along with an installation of 43 kites—each displaying the face of one of the missing students—created by Toledo and participants of an “Art and Paper” workshop in Oaxaca. Proceeds raised by the exhibition went to the families of the disappeared students.
Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), ArtDivision, and Self-Help Graphics & Art are working together to bring Toledo’s important, international exhibition to the United States for the first time.