I am slowing progressing through my portraits of each of the Normalista students who were forcibly disappeared in Iguala last September. The students at the school “Raul Isidro Burgos” in Ayotzinapa come from all over the state of Guerrero and many of them are bilingual. Martín comes from Zumpango del Río, not terribly far from Chilpancingo.
In this piece I wanted to combine imagery from the region’s pre-Columbian past and Martín’s passion for the football team he supported, Deportivo Cruz Azul – “Los Azules”. I have used marigolds or cempazuchitl to decorate the piece because they are used to adorn the hats of the Tlacololeros so typical of his home town. The Tlacololeros or farmers perform a dance where 14 dancers hunt two other dancers “piteros” dressed as jaguars or Tigres… the story goes that the farmers hunt and kill a jaguar who has been terrorising the community. The dance is performed in honour of Tlaloc, the God of Fertility and water so that he will provide rain to water the farmers’ crops. The dancers are accompanied by a reed flute and drums which to me seems reminiscent of the music of the tambolineros I hear at romerías in the Sierra de Huelva , in Southern Spain. I have included some lyrics from a son de tarima tlacololeros in this collage.
Traditions such as these are what first attracted me to Guerrero. The Tigre mask in this collage is one which I took home with me to Scotland and will be familiar to anyone who has visited my home. The mask has eyes made from mirrors so that the enemy would see their own fear reflected back at them. Now when I see the mask I still remember the wonderful masked dances, traditions and music of Guerrero, but the eyes reflect my own fears for the students and their families, whose questions go unanswered.