Artist Condemns Mexican Drug Violence in Poignant Exhibition

A artist has collected the shoes of family members of the victims.

Shoes of relatives of missing people hung from the ceiling of the Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita in Alfredo Lopez Caranova's
Shoes of relatives of missing people hung from the ceiling of the Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita in Alfredo Lopez Caranova's "Hellas de las Memoria (Memory Tracks)" exhibition in Mexico City. Courtesy of Sandra Saruki/Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita.

Alfredo Lopez Casanova is shining a light on the issue of drug-related violent crime in his native Mexico in a new exhibition, “Hellas de las Memoria (Memory Tracks)” at the Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita, or Museum of Untamed Memory, in Mexico City. The artist has hung 86 pairs of shoes from the ceiling, each one belonging to a family member of someone who has gone missing at the hands of the drug cartels.

According to Agence France Presse, 28,000 Mexican citizens have disappeared over the past decade. The shoes are a reminder of how far the families of those lost have walked in their search for their loved ones.

People look at footprints as shoes of relatives of missing people hang from the ceiling of the Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita in Alfredo Lopez Caranova's "Hellas de las Memoria (Memory Tracks)" exhibition in Mexico City. Courtesy of AFP/Yuri Cortez/Getty Images)

People look at footprints as shoes of relatives of missing people hang from the ceiling of the Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita in Alfredo Lopez Caranova’s “Hellas de las Memoria (Memory Tracks)” exhibition in Mexico City. Courtesy of AFP/Yuri Cortez/Getty Images)

“These shoes symbolize the fight for the truth and the denunciation against the state-sponsored crime that are disappearances,” museum director Jorge Galvez told ABC News.

The donor of each pair of shoes has painted the soles green and inscribed a message about the victim. One pair of shoes is from a nine-year-old boy whose father was one of the 43 college students who disappeared in Guerrero in September 2014 on their way to a protest rally in Mexico City.

Shoes of relatives of missing people hung from the ceiling of the Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita in Alfredo Lopez Caranova's "Hellas de las Memoria (Memory Tracks)" exhibition in Mexico City. Courtesy of Sandra Saruki/Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita.

Shoes of relatives of missing people hung from the ceiling of the Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita in Alfredo Lopez Caranova’s “Hellas de las Memoria (Memory Tracks)” exhibition in Mexico City. Courtesy of Sandra Saruki/Museo Casa de la Memoria Indomita.

The mass kidnapping is still under investigation, as reported last month in the New York Times. In February 2015, photographer Édgar Olguín released a series of nude photographs of young men and women protesting the abduction, and the one-year anniversary of the incident was marked with various works of protest art.

Virginia Herrera, whose son disappeared six years ago and whose shoes are part of Casanova’s display, told AFP that the exhibition “helps make people aware.”

The exhibition is scheduled to run through June 25. Casanova hopes the show can travel to other venues in Mexico and the US.


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