In New Zealand, The Wellington Zapatista Support Group has organised a photograph exhibition to commemorate to 20th anniversary of the EZLN uprising in Chiapas, to celebrate their achievements and honour their struggle, their sacrifices, and their dead.
The exhibition is being shown for one week in the Thistle Gallery, in the centre of the capital city of Wellington, between 27 January and 02 February 2014.
Featuring photographs by Frida Hartz, Efraim and Jorge Herrera, and Julie Webb-Pullman as well as including one each from the Chiapas Support Committee and Geraldo Villarroe, the exhibition covers 20 years of iconic and ordinary moments in the lives of the Zapatistas and the construction of their autonomous communities.
“We tried to get two photographs from each year,” said one of the organisers, “but as we were offered the gallery at very short notice, it was not possible in the available time. So we are already starting the search now for a 25th anniversary exhibition – because for sure, the Zapatistas will still be here!”
The photographs are interspersed with brief information on major events in each of the 20 years, providing both a written and photographic lesson for the public.
A professional artist who visited the gallery said she was very impressed with the exhibition. “I love the way it starts in black and white, with the armed uprising, and progresses through the years to very positive peaceful and constructive images in bright colours. It is almost like a trip from the darkness of the underworld into the light of life.”
Although the Wellington Zapatista Support Group does not expect the exhibition to raise a lot of money for the Zapatista communities, it has certainly raised a lot of awareness about their struggle.
“Most of the people who come in tell us they knew nothing, or very little, about the Zapatistas before they saw the exhibition. We feel as if we achieved something if we manage to educate even one person, but this week we have educated hundreds. So to us, it is a great success. We hope they will help us continue the struggle in New Zealand, to build a better world in which many worlds fit.”
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