an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 19-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Rafael del Río. Location: Aguascalientes, Mexico Copyright Wondereur 2020.

MEET with artist Rolando López curated by relentless explorer of Latin American art Albertine de Galbert.

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THERE’S A HIDDEN HISTORY IN AGUASCALIENTES.
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People don’t know about it.
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When I moved to Mexico City, I started looking back at a specific area of Aguascalientes where my mom used to play when she was a kid.
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IT WAS A VERY MAGICAL PLACE FOR HER.
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IT WAS COMPLETELY BLACK AND YOU COULD FIND ROCKS WITH STRANGE FORMS.
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I looked at historical archives and learned more about the foundry industry in Aguascalientes.
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There was a very strong record of racism, mistreatment of workers, exploitation of natural resources, and contamination at high levels.
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When the foundry was built in the early 19th century, it was outside the city. But the city grew a lot since then. Now the contaminated dust spreads out throughout the city.
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THAT’S WHEN I DISCOVERED THE GUGGENHEIM FAMILY WAS INVOLVED IN IT.
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The whole thing of the mines and the Guggenheim family is hidden.
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They left the city in the late 1930s, leaving millions of industrial, toxic waste.
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KNOWING THE HISTORY NOW GIVES ME A RESPONSIBILITY TO TALK ABOUT IT.
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It’s an important topic for me, my family and my friends because this is our reality. It’s a place where we live everyday. The government has used these toxic rocks across the state for roads and buildings. There’s a possibility that people living here could develop cancer.
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THAT’S WHY I WANT TO BUILD THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM OF AGUASCALIENTES.
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The museum would reflect the situation: a black museum, a sick museum, an underground museum. Something that represents the south of the U.S. border. And people would bring back rocks as souvenirs. A souvenir that assumes its origin, its history.
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I want more people to become aware of it and start having conversations about it.
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IT’S A HISTORY OF A SMALL PLACE, BUT IT TALKS ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION.