Cécile Smetana Baudier
Copenhagen (Denmark), Danish/French
Edition 2017 - Finalist
Statement: in 2015, the Mexican government finally recognized its 1.38 million citizens of African descent in a national survey, signifying a tremendous victory for the Afro-Mexican community who had up to that moment largely gone unnoticed on the margins of Mexican society.Chacahua and El Azufre, small villages located on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, are populated mainly by Afro-Mexicans. Most of them know little of their African heritage and what they do know is often based on myths and legends. According to one of these tales, American boats, full of slaves, would pass by and as they made a short stop, the slaves would escape and seek refuge in the wild jungle, that is now » The National Park of Chacahua ». The photos aim to reflect the same subtle drama and feeling of nostalgia within the story.
The wind is blowing harshly just before sunset.
The dust enters every window, every crack and there are not many trees, to protect you from the sun.
Nobody owns a functioning toilet, but everybody owns a big television, which is usually placed next to the religious artifacts in the livingroom. There is a small church here, but only few attends.
In the laguna of El Azufre
In order to leave the village of Chacahua, one must pay the taxi driver, the fairy and then the bus. It cost around 50 pesos, which is a lot of money for most people in this region.
Mitchel clings to Nicolasa, her grandmother.
Family is the center of most peoples life here and many who are born in El Azufre never leaves.
The towns of El azufre and Chacahua are both located in the National park of Chacahua. Parrots, turtles, crocodilles and many different species lives and thrives here.
In Mexico, it is mandatory to wear school uniforms. The girls wear white long socks and the boys long pants, regardless of the hot temperature.
The river separates the village of Chacahua into two parts; the mainland and the island. Boys are swimming in the river after school.
The region of Costa Chica
Chacahua, located in a national park in Oaxaca, Mexico seems at times isolated and disconnected to the outside world. It is difficult to get there and expensive to leave.
The men who are not fishing, usually works in the fields, cultivating peanuts. The harsh weather and high temperature makes it difficult to work during the day.