News Column

Photo Show Offers Clear Picture of Mexico

May 17, 2013

Darin Fenger

The indigenous people of Mexico are being shown in a different light, held within a black-and-white landscape, unable to speak but having so much to say.

They are the people of photographer Alejandra Platt's exhibit that is currently visiting the Yuma Art Center, 254 S. Main St. In her exhibit called "En el Nombre de Dios," Platt sets out to give voice through visuals to Mexico's native people, men and women whose customs and costumes, facial features and faith often seem unchanged since years before the Spanish set foot in North America.

"The goal is to strip away the romantic or idealized vision of indigenous people and portray them as they really are," said Santiago Ballina with the Mexican Consulate office in Yuma. "This exhibit gives people a chance to look at a different side of Mexico. Sometimes people don't know the diversity that we have in our country, the ethnic varieties and linguistic varieties."

The Mexican Consulate, which Ballina serves as interim consul, brought "En el Nombre de Dios" to the Yuma Art Center. The exhibit of 50 images will remain on display through the end of the month.

"The exhibit's title means 'In the Name of God,' which appears to be a religious title, but it is not at all," Ballina said. "It is more about finding the soul of indigenous people in Mexico."

The photographs are the fruits of seven years that Platt spent traveling throughout Mexico. Ten states are represented in the collection of images.

Ballina's favorite photo is one showing a young girl living in the state of Sonora, just south of Yuma.

"The girl has such a beautiful face. The photo was taken in 1994. I just wonder where this girl is now and what is in her life. In the photograph she just has a sweet look and I love it."

Platt grew up in Hermosillo, Son., but now lives in Tucson. She has shown her work throughout the U.S., along with exhibitions in Mexico City, Australia, Denmark and Norway.

Her work has been shown in books such as "160 Years of Photography in Mexico." Photos from "En el Nombre de Dios" have been published in a book by the same name.

"She does a lot of work with indigenous subjects. She had a huge artistic edge to her work, which honestly I love," Ballina said, adding that he also appreciates the black-and-white approach to visual storytelling. "It gives them more of a blunt feeling, but at the same time it is very realistic. It gives a nostalgic feeling to the photos, and it's very nice."

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(c)2013 The Sun (Yuma, Ariz.)

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Source: Copyright Sun (Yuma, AZ) 2013


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