La Realidad by Mara Catalan
Saturday 29 January 2000 to Sunday 12 March 2000
The Other Side of a Zapatista Village
The 1994 Zapatista uprising in Mexico's Chiapas State drew on deep roots in a history of colonialism: in the oppressive control of the region by a few land-owning families; in a brutal response to attempts at creating independent political organisations in the 1970s; the burning of villages; massacres; the banning of all syndicates...
I spent one and a half years living in the town of San Cristobal, the town which, on the dawn of the revolution, was taken over by Subcommandante Marcos and the Zapatistas. The first time I travelled from San Cristobal to La Realidad, the Zapatista stronghold in the Lacandon Jungle, I found myself drawn towards her people. Expecting to find a masked army, I instead found a village whose principal weapon was life...
Mara Catalan's photographs explore that life: a procession to ask the Virgin of Trinidad for water to relieve the drought which threatens the village; the traditional cooking of corn 'atol' to accompany festivities; the daily chores; children playing and working; a dance in the village; the school; waiting for the Mexican army; the Day of the Dead.
These photographs were taken during three separate journeys to La Realidad. I wanted to photograph this side of their reality; this 'other side' to the Zapatista uprising.