“These hills are graveyards,” confided Maria Natividad Martinez Gonzalez, a 71-year-old woman with skin leathered from working the fields her entire life.
Every day at the church of San Gerardo a group of about a dozen people gather to head out into the cartel-infested hills of Iguala, a town nestled in the Sierra Madre that crosses the Guerrero State of Mexico. They are searching for their loved ones.
Before September, when 43 students disappeared in the town center, nobody had dared report their missing out of fear of retribution from organized crime. Now, with international attention and the federal police having taken over security in the town, the townspeople have lost their fear and are demanding their loved ones be found, dead or alive.
Official numbers indicate that 22,000 people are missing in Mexico since former President Felipe Calderon began his war on drugs. However human rights groups suspect that number is much higher. Since the initiative began in Iguala, over 500 people have been reported as disappeared in a town of 120,000. This number provides a stark contrast to the 120 reported kidnappings in the entire State of Guerrero through November 2014 by the Executive Secretariat of the National System for Public Safety (SESNSP).
Miguel Angel Jimenez who is spearheading the search efforts and is a leader with the UPOEG, a community police organization, says about 32 suspected graves have been found so far.
Evidencia is a search for answers. It documents the people searching for their loved ones and their crawling quest for information about what happened to them. Each person and each artifact are small mysteries holding answers to where the the truth lives and who guards it.
Viewers are invited to look at this body of work in the same way that the people portrayed in it do — seeing graves, artifacts, belongings and wild landscapes as evidence of an hopelessly impenetrable cycle of violence punctuated by small glimpses into its grim essence.