Pablo Picasso once said: “Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”
We want to peek through the door and see what’s behind the image. We asked Toi’s artists to tell us the story behind the picture, what motivated it, what ideas or events produced it. Because every representation has it’s own story, it’s own world for us to discover.
Roger Ycaza: “43 reasons not to forget”
According to official reports, the students commandeered several buses to travel to Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre. During the journey, local police intercepted them and a confrontation ensued. Details of what happened during and after the clash remain unclear, but the official investigation concluded that once the students were in custody, they were handed over to the local Guerreros Unidos ("United Warriors") crime syndicate and presumably killed. Mexican authorities claimed Iguala's mayor, José Luis Albarca Velázquez and his wife María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, masterminded the abduction. Since then, there have been thousand of protest using the number 43 as an icon to demand justice for the killed students.
This is what Roger told us about his artwork:
In November 2014 I had the opportunity to travel to the Guadalajara International Book Fair and thus meet dear friends there. The case of the Ayotzinapa massacred students was very recent, and I have wanted to do something about it. Taking advantage of this trip and the fact that I always try to bring my friends some presents, I created this picture. It remains one of my favorites: now I see that, as time goes by, the need for justice and memory is still the same: “43 reasons not to forget”.
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Street art has a long and controversial history but in recent years it has evolved and has been reinvented as a form of high art. It was created as a way to convey political or social ideas in public places. Street art tends to happen in urban areas and is connected in certain ways to graffiti. But what is the difference? When is it considered vandalism and when is it considered art?