Despite its richness in natural resources and cultural variability, Chiapas has seen persistent inequalities over the centuries making it one of the most economically disadvantaged state in Mexico. Tensions over territory, resources and ways of life have led to revolution, economic and environmental shocks, displacement, migration, as well as to the formation of autonomous communities like the Zapatista. Efforts to unify diverse multi-ethnic and multi-lingual cultures have yielded limited degrees of success, leaving many individuals still struggling to find their place, come to terms with their identity and gain fair representation. The relentless oppression of indigenous and agrarian populations has become the driving force of a culture of resistance and a marked reclaiming of the historical narrative.
Within this context, Bats'i Lab seeks to contribute to the construction and dissemination of new community narratives through photography. Building on the experience of (Con)sequences: Visual Narratives from Chiapas, an exhibit curated by Bats'i Lab on display at Photoville in New York in 2018, we have launched a new project Fragments/Reconstruction, that supports four groups of emerging photographers in the development of photo reports on topics of social justice.
Based on submissions to an open call for proposals at the beginning of the year, selected project participants were invited to a workshop on visual narratives, organized in collaboration with Proof: Media for Social Justice on the 12th and 13th of March at the Center for Learning (Centro de La Enseñanza) in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Since the workshop, participants have begun their field work and identified clear objectives for the distribution of project outputs. Over the summer, print production and distribution of produced material will be supported by Bats’i Lab. These projects will be featured in the Tragameluz Photo Festival 2019 this November, in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.
If you are interested in helping us to gain more exposure for the following projects, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coffee in Pueblo Nuevo: The Loss of Sovereignty over Nutrition
Through the project “Coffee in Pueblo Nuevo: The Loss of Sovereignty over Nutrition”, Eliazar Perez Cruz y Solene Charrasse are looking to provide a voice for the community, while raising awareness among the community of the connection between their dependence on coffee production and their poor nutrition.
The Zapotec Corn Fields: A Visual Narrative on the Land of the South
Through the project "The Zapotec Corn Fields: A Visual Narrative on the Land of the South" Luis Villalobos seeks to expose the vulnerability of the Zapotec farmer while also giving value to the dignity that comes with manual labor and the social impact this has on their community. Considering the conditions of vulnerability,and internal conflicts that may arise amongst rural populations, Luis poses the question of how can they live a dignified life?
So That it Doesn’t Happen Again
Through the project “So That it Doesn’t Happen Again”, Koman Ilel, an alternative community collective, seeks to produce a documentary film focused on the the War of Attrition that Zapatista communities and other indigenous communities went through between 1966-2000 in Chiapas.
Life in her Absence
Through the project "Life in her Absence" Adriana Rodriguez and Gabriela Sanabria are seeking to expose this harsh reality as a cry for justice and a re-vindication of the lives of those lost. Through portrait style photographs and still lifes including the belongings of victims, they seek to create activations in universities and public spaces, including in the spaces where the victims bodies were found, to raise awareness of this reprehensible rights violation.