In a decade, more than 100,000 people have died and more than 30,000 have been reported missing due to the ongoing war against drug trafficking in Mexico. These figures exceed even those of countries that are at (non-drug related) war.
The phenomenon of narco trafficking is no longer exclusive to Latin America, its effects have spread throughout the world and with that it has evolved from a regional cartel war into a global phenomenon.
The exhibition "Narcos" is a journey to the core of the icons that were created inside and outside of this conflict, being guided by the eyes of the victims
But who are these victims? The thousands of orphan children left behind by this conflict, the missing women of whom there is no longer an approximate tally. The victims, in fact, are the whole of society.
If we would ask the youth of today: With whom do you identify more, with a narco or a politician? If the answers came from Latin America, many would say with a narco. If the answers came from Europe, many would say: a narco, simply because the media sells us an image of power.
What aspirations do you have in life?
Being a narco-boss and having a "narcocorrido" (drug-ballad, about you) because there are no other possibilities. The corrupt government offers nothing and takes away everything but the narcos in my town have always helped us. Without the narcos, we would not have a church, light, water or school (answer from a young man from Badiraguato, Sinaloa).
Is it the politician or is the narco, who needs what from whom? Those who exercise the law or those who violate it?
Answer: There are currently six fugitive governors in Mexico and 16 who are under investigation for corruption and drug trafficking. Then we ask ourselves who are the narcos? Where is the boundry?
From this comes a phenomena reffered to as Narco-Culture; it is expression in a style of dressing, in a particular musical style known as narcocorrido, religion and architecture. This lifestyle has been able to conquer the most abandoned towns of the Mexican countryside as well as seep into large cities such as Los Angeles and many others in North, South, and Central America. You could say we all live in a narco-culturalization.
The exhibition "Narcos" will show a little known face of the world of drug trafficking and it will take us to a journey to try to understand the other side of the narco: the victims.
These works do not seek to be an apology to narco but they try to narrate the context in which each artist lived or experimented this global predicament.
TEXT Oscar Sanchez / Gabe Manriquez