In the months following their disappearance, from which they were en route to complain about the “discriminatory hiring and funding practices” by the local government, several arrests have been made.
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Former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa have been arrested in connection to this crime along with 44 police officers, the families of the students still don’t have all the details about what actually happened to them. The whereabouts to the students, or their bodies, remains a mystery. When artist and curator Andrea Arroyo heard about this story she was outraged and heartbroken.
“I attended a demonstration in New York City and I left the event asking myself what more I could do to both try to heal my own pain and try to engage a larger community,” Arroyo says.
She put that anger and sadness into an art show in the hopes that a public grieving could bring justice to the missing students.
“Tribute to the Disappeared” is the group art show that Arroyo co-founded that contains three components: an online exhibition, a series of public exhibitions, and a series of community workshops. The show currently includes more than 300 international artists that range from ages 16 to 88. And that number will continue to grow as more artists get involved. The show is on view until October 22, at The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, in New York City.
“Having met the parents of the disappeared students has made me understand how we are all connected to each other, so we all need to support each other,” Arroyo stresses. “Their pain must be our pain, their struggle must be our struggle.”
Arroyo wants this show to become a traveling exhibition in order to create awareness for the more than 26,000 disappearances in Mexico, and about other cases of injustice around the world in the same way the AIDS memorial quilt brought attention to the AIDS epidemic. Arroyo says this cause is important to her because it has now become a human rights issue.
“We all should care for the wellbeing of all people, notwithstanding borders, race, gender, religion or class," Arroyo says. "This case has brought me a greater awareness of the seriousness of the human rights crisis in Mexico."