On Sept. 26, 2014, 43 students went missing. All of them young men who were studying to become rural teachers at a college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. They had gone to Iguala to commandeer buses to travel to Mexico City. But as the buses left the city, Police Officers intercepted them and took them away. That was the last time anyone saw them. Soon after, families of the students gathered in front of the capital demanding answers, and later were joined by millions of protesters in the streets of Mexico City, as well as all over the world. Government officials made a show of searching for the students but the search was largely fruitless.
“The piece “43” is a cry for justice, and a claim to all of those who can and should preserve human rights.” says artist Enrique Bascón.
“43” is a portrait of artist Francisco Toledo, pictured flying a kite, in a performance art piece/protest of the government cover up of the disappearance of those 43 students. In the state of Oaxaca where Toledo is from, there is a tradition on the Day of the Dead to fly kites in order to communicate with the spirits of dead loved ones, in the air, through the kite string. Toledo painted 43 kites with the faces of the missing students and flew them along with 42 other people. He said that since the government was busy “searching” for the students on the land he was going to search for them in the air. A very powerful statement. The piece also contains a nod to Picasso with pieces from Guernica scattered along the bottom of the frame, including the mother holding her dead child. You can also see a red point, painted on the body of the artist, from which the inspiration comes to this piece from another artist team, “Equipo Crónica”. “They, as I do, use humor to work and point a political disorder in the society in the 70´s and 80´s in Spain, where I´m from.“ says Bascón.
The artist also goes on to say: “The reference to the Guernica for me, is to respect those who fight and die for their identity, it is because this is the same pain, only moves in the coordinates. And the red is in relation with corruption, it is the representation of the physical pain, in which the whole country was united those sad days. The physical pain is the soul pain. The soul of a country that honored their memory with a non violent concentration, which still remains in the streets of Mexico City, with their families, and in the memory of Mexicans, as a nation.
The last print of "43" was sold on Thursday, and I´m happy to see that sharing this history brings us the memory of those who are still missing, and looking for a way back home. Thank you to the Sieberts (pictured here with artist Enrique Bascón) and thank you to all who have purchased my work.”
There are still many other prints to choose from in the gallery, each with their own powerful story to share. Please visit us to see for yourself.