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Ayotzinapa: You Cannot Bury the Truth — Poster of the Week

On September 26, 2014, student teachers from the Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa in the Mexican state of Guerrero boarded buses towards the town of Iguala, where they planned to protest a political event hosted by the mayor and his wife. As the students arrived in Iguala, the buses were stopped by local police. While details of the violent confrontation remain unclear, the police eventually opened fire, killing six and wounding 25. Another 43 student teachers were herded into police vehicles—and never seen again. The families of the missing students—with the support of the international community—kept pressure on the government to search for the truth. This week, an article published by The Daily Beast stated that transcripts of newly released text messages between a crime boss and a deputy police chief indicated that the police and drug cartel worked together to capture, torture, and murder at least 38 of the 43 student teachers. The article was reprinted in the Yucatan Daily News. No other newspaper seems to have covered it. Why? Just eight weeks after the disappearances, internationally renowned artist and activist Francisco Toledo (1940-2019), 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 about the 43 missing students for an exhibition titled Carteles de Ayotzinapa. Over 700 designs were submitted by artists from Mexico, Iran, Poland, Spain, Portugal, China, Greece, and other countries. 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. In 2016, CSPG acquired a set of the posters and kites, and collaborated with SPARC, ArtDivision, and Self-Help Graphics & Art to exhibit them throughout Los Angeles. This was the first time that Toledo’s important, international exhibition was shown in the United States.

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