Felipe Arnulfo Rosa

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Felipe Arnulfo Rosa. Digital collage: Jan Nimmo ©

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Felipe Arnulfo Rosa. Digital collage: Jan Nimmo ©

Felipe Arnulfo Rosa, from Rancho Papa near Ayutla de los Libres (the place where turtles are abundant), Guerrero, is one of the students at the Normalista “Raúl Isidro Burgos” teacher training school in Ayotzinapa. He was forcibly disappeared along with another 42 students, in Iguala in Sept 2014, at the hands of local, municipal and state police. He was 20 years old at the time of his disappearance.

In researching this piece I watched film shot at his family home, a basic wooden shack, and listened to his mother speak of how he helped out with family chores –  they are campesinos, She spoke of how he’d get up at 5 am to go to study and how he wanted to make things better for his indigenous family. She is in tears as she shows the camera his well worn huaraches, (sandals), so ordinary, so typical and so very, very empty.

Felipe likes music and plays guitar. I don’t know what music he listens to or plays but I have used the lyrics of a “chilena” called La Sanmarqueña and a few lines from “Pajarillo Jilguero” or “Little Goldfinch”, another son from the Costa Chica, in this collage. It’s a sad son by El Conjunto de los Hermanos Molinathat I have listened to since I first visited Mexico back in the mid 90’s.

Pajarillo Jilguero préstame tus alas, préstame tus alas

Para llevarle un recuerdo a mi amada, a mi amada.

Padres que tienen hijas, que las maltratan, que las maltratan

Yo que las quiero mucho, yo que las quiero tanto

Diós me las quitan y Dios me las matan

Pájaro que abandona su primer nido, su primer nido

Pájaro que abandona su primer nido, su primer nido

Si lo encuentra ocupado, su merecido, su merecido.

Each time I work on a collage I learn a little about each of these boys. I’m not even a quarter of the way through making the portraits of the 43 students so I am reminded of how big a number 43 is; a big number within an enormous number; 22,000. There have been 32,000 people disappeared over the last two electoral terms in Mexico. Every time I look on Twitter, at the pages of the disappeared, La Alameda’s tweets from all over the Republic, I learn that every day there are more missing women, children and men, and murdered journalists and activists too. I look online to see the places where the boys came from and amongst the images of town squares, indigenous crafts and rural life there are shockingly violent images of clandestine graves and of young men who have been executed and dumped like pieces of rubbish. So part of the process of making these pieces is to cry buckets but also to try and keep hold of what is beautiful.

Jan Nimmo © 2015


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