Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está JorgeAntonio Tizapa Legideno

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño. Digital Art: Jan Nimmo ©

I have been away in Spain for the last two months and so haven’t had the means of making my Ayotzinapa portraits but there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t thought about the boys and their parents. Every morning, as I walked up the Cuesta Palero, I would take photos of the wild flowers. I especially love the blue chicory flowers (Cichorium intybus) and planned to use these in an Ayotzinapa piece, and so now I have. The flowers are illusively shy and don’t like the heat so are only open between 8.30 in the morning and are then tightly closed, like they never existed, by 11.30 am.

This portrait is of Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño who was 19 years old when he was forcibly disappeared alongside 42 other students training to be teachers at the Escuela Rural Normal “Raúl Isidros Burgos” in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. He is now 20, his birthday is on the 7th of June. Neither of his parents, José Antonio and Hilda, have had any news of him although they campaign tirelessly for answers. Messages on his Facebook account from friends who miss him and struggle to deal with his absence, mark the months since his disappearance on the 26th of September 2014.

His mother, Hilda, in an interview for desInformémonos describes how Jorge Antonio has a little dent in his cheek, but that it doesn’t show up on any of the photos of him. She talks about how he is a loving father to his daughter, Naomi, who is just a year and a half old. She also relates that he worked as a bus driver on the Atliaca/Tixtla route, that he loves driving and that he used to have a motorbike.

Jorge Antonio loves music, especially the songs of the Sinaloan band, La Arolladora Banda El Limón de René Camacho. I have used some lines from one of their songs, “Contigo”, in this piece.

Jorge Antonio’s father, José Antonio, had to emigrate to the US 14 years ago to support his wife Hilda and their three children. He lives in New York and spoke as part of the Caravana 43, which toured the US earlier this year to raise awareness of the case. Jorge Antonio was only five when his father left but he always kept in touch, mainly thanks to modern technology. He is heartbroken by his son’s disappearance and like Hilda, just wants to see him again.  He calls for President Obama to abandon Plan Mérida, a security agreement between the US and Mexico intended to combat drug smuggling. There are fears that the many of the weapons funded by P.M. end up in the hands of drug cartels, like Guerreros Unidos, a criminal gang who are implicated in the disappearance of the 43 students and the death of three. You can watch an interview with José Antonio on Democracy Now here. Hilda has has spoken to MEPs at the European Parliament as part of Caravana 43’s visit to Europe. She toured Canada too and in Ottowa said “Everything that I am doing here I’m doing out of love for my son.”

Christian Tomás Colón Garnica

Yo, Jan Nimmo, Glasgow, Escocia, quiero saber dónde está Christian Tomás Colón Garnica. Digital art: Jan Nimmo ©

Christian Tomás Colón Garnica, a student at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normalista Teacher Training School, Ayotzinapa, Guerrero is from La Zapoteca, a poor barrio of Tlacolula. Tlacolula is in Oaxaca State, a southern neighbour of Guerrero. Christian went to study in Ayotzinapa because his parents could not afford for him to continue studying at home and in going to the Normailsta school he would have the opportunity to continue studying and have bed and board provided while he was there.

In an interview for Oaxaca Quadratin his sister in-law, Juana Pérez Gómes, describes how the family have been absent from home as they have been searching for Christian since he was forcibly disappeared along with 42 of his fellow students on the 26th of September 2014. This has meant that the only income to support the family has come from what they earn from a modest little shop. His father is a labourer who earns £28 a week. All of the disappeared Normalista students come from low income families so there will have been many sacrifices along the way in the search for their missing sons. That said, in a show of solidarity, the residents of the barrio, who are just as poor as Christian’s family, along with the local authority in Tlacolula and community members, collected money to help with the parents’ travel expenses to Chilpancingo and Iguala. Read more about it in this article in Imparcial Oaxaca, here.

Christian’s family have searched Guerrero, and, like all the other parents, want him home alive. They are people of faith and hope that their prayers to the Virgin will be answered.

In this piece I have used a background image from the stone carvings from the Mixtec ae-archeological site at Mitla not far from Tlacolula. I first passed through there with my husband, Paul, many years ago now, and vividly remember the bus journey through Tlacolula on the way to the site at Mitla… we had visited Teotitlan del Valle and Santa María del Tule to see the 2000 year old tree there. In the top right hand corner I have incorporated Paul’s sketch of that journey which he made in his diary. In subsequent trips I stayed in the city of Oaxaca and each day visited the small towns round and about the Valle Central making sure that my visits coincided with market days or cattle fairs. The markets are good place to meet people selling anything from fruits and vegetables to handmade objects. In the portrait I have included the image of an alebrije style carved wooden lizard which I bought on one of these trips.

Tlacolula-Mitla. Drawing: Paul Barham ©

Tlacolula-Mitla. Drawing: Paul Barham ©

This spring a Mexican student, Ramiro, contacted me from Eugene, Oregon, USA regarding an event that he and others at Eugene4Ayotzinapa were planning to host with Normalista parents during their awareness raising tour of the States, Caravana 43. He had seen the portraits I was making on the internet and wondered if I would be happy for them to use my portraits for their event. I was, of course, both delighted and moved, so agreed and sent him the files. The great thing about making digital art is that it can be uploaded and printed anywhere. When I finish the portraits I hope to be able to work with Eugene4Ayotzinapa to have aware raising exhibitions in High Schools there.

Ramiro told me he was from Oaxaca, and it was only after I had published the portrait of Christian online that Ramiro got back to me and told me that he too was from Tlacolula. He might be far away from his home town but he is demonstrating the same spirit of solidarity as his fellow townsfolk in Tlacolula.

In the portrait I have incorporated the lyrics of a famous Mexican song, Canción Mixteca, a song for the homesick, for those sad to be far from their homeland, the beautiful Central Vally of Oaxaca, La Tierra del Sol (land of the sun).

Canción Mixteca

Que lejos estoy del suelo
Donde he nacido.
Inmensa nostalgia
Invade mi pensamiento.
Y al verme tan solo y triste
Cual hoja el viento.
Quisiera llorar,Quisiera morir
De sentimiento.

Oh! tierra del sol
Suspiro por verte.
Ahora que lejos
Yo vivo sin luz.
Sin amor.
Y al verme
Tan solo y triste
Cual hoja el viento
Quisiera llorar,Quisiera morir
De sentimiento.

Miguel Aceves Mejía

Mixtec Song

How far I am from the soil
Where I was born.
Immense nostalgia
Invades my thoughts.
And seeing myself so alone and sad
Like a leaf in the wind.
I would like to cry, I would like die
of sorrow.

Oh! Land of the sun
I long to see you.
Now that I live to far away
I live without light
Without love.
And seeing myself so alone and sad
Like a leaf in the wind.
I would like to cry, I would like die
of sorrow.

Miguel Aceves Mejía

There are hundreds of versions of this song but here you can listen to the version I heard first – Antonio Agular (Thanks, Julie Oxberry) – or listen to a Oaxacan marimba version from Marimba Oaxaca.