Greta Rico

Greta Rico


Edition 2022 - Solidarity Award

Substitute mother

In November 2017, the body of my cousin Fernanda was found on the street in a garbage bag with signs of sexual violence and three-gun shots. This documentary project arises from the most intimate, within my own family and tells the story of my cousin Siomara who became a Substitute Mothers of her (at that time) 3-year old niece Nicole, since her mother was a victim of feminicide. This project shows how femicide does not end with murder, but has psychosocial impacts that cause trauma in orphan children, in mothers, sisters, grandmothers and aunts who become Substitute Mothers because of violence in Mexico.

Based on data from the National Femicide Observatory in Mexico, around 30,889 girls, boys and adolescents have been orphaned due to femicide between January 2017 (the year my cousin was murdered) and March 2021. According to data from UN Women, in Mexico ten women were murdered daily victims of femicide during 2020. Currently, Mexico ranks second in Latin America for orphaned children. Given this and based on data from the Orphans for Femicide organization, 98% of the caregivers who are left in charge of these childhoods are women and there is no recognition or support by the law for them.

The story of Siomara and Nicole is one of thousands of cases in the country who, as a result of the feminicide of a close relative, take care of the victim’s orphaned children indefinitely and amid loopholes. These women live in a constant environment of impunity and corruption perpetrated by the State. SUBSTITUTE MOTHER addresses discrimination against women in disadvantaged situations and the rights of children in a dual and combined way.

Greta Rico is a Mexican documentary photographer, journalist and educator focused on issues of gender and human rights. Her work focuses on exploring social boundaries and rehistorizing the body in a situated way. Through her images she reflects on coloniality, gender culture, violence, and trauma.