I Came To La Pinta Because They Told Me My Father Lived Here by Alejandra Aragón
Inspired by the opening sentence of the emblematic Mexican novel Pedro Páramo. As the protagonist of that story, Alejandra also undertook a journey between Mexico and the United States to find her biological father. In the process, she discovered how the wounds of her family are linked to the demands of hegemonic masculinity and the displacement of the agricultural peoples of northern Mexico.
“To define the visual language of this story, I used images from the family photo album along with others I took during my travels with analog film cameras. I avoided using a DSLR to question the codes under which violence in Mexico is commonly portrayed and to protect the intimacy of the story. The colors of infrared film (an obsolete military technology) reveal an invisible spectrum of light, creating a dystopian atmosphere. It is complemented by the voices of relatives and fragments of corridos, a narrative genre of popular music”, commented Aragón about her work.
"Journey south of the border"
The state omitted its role, as did the fathers of blood. My great grandfather on my grandfather’s side scratched from the picture, was a musician who played jazz along the Sierra Madre. This is how he had many children from women other than his wife. She ended up raising a few of them. He was a beneficiary of the ‘bracero program’ which allowed agricultural workers into the USA.
"Mothers in an act of resilience and destruction burned the stubble"
My grandmother and my mother struggled to give up their ideals on marriage and the men who promised to provide for their children. Both were stigmatised by their extended family for being single mothers.
“I long for the days when I walked between the fields, combing the saw with my long gun, kicking up dust, taking care of my land. I long for a band that welcomes me, for a hug that heals my wounds.” – Lyrics from a popular corrido song, Javier de los Llanos.
"This is my biological father"
I found him in his natal town, La Pinta. I met him for the first time in my life. His wife got mad when she saw me – I am the second of five children he had outside his marriage. He is a welder and works with horses, struggling to make a living against the violence that dominates his hometown.
Ruins of the National Company of Popular Subsistence (CONASUPO), a Mexican parastatal company that was dedicated to actions related to the supply system and food security. It was created in 1961 to guarantee the purchase and regulation of prices in products particularly corn in rural areas.
Alejandra Aragón es originaria de Ciudad Juárez, México. A través de un proceso multidisciplinario utilizando fotografía, video, audio, estrategias performativas e imágenes encontradas, su trabajo explora las intersecciones entre género, territorio, violencia e identidad desde una perspectiva de-colonial, en la frontera entre los lenguajes documental y artístico. Ha realizado exhibiciones de sus obras tanto en México como en otros países como Canadá, Alemania y Estados Unidos.
“Gracias a la World Photography Organisation por el reconocimiento y la oportunidad de presentar estas reflexiones a una audiencia internacional. Con suerte, las imágenes pueden superar las barreras del idioma y la experiencia,” concluyó Alejandra.