Antonio Rodriguez

2018 - 2021

Three years ago I started this project, when I metaphorically met my paternal grandfather. Never before had I had any reference from him, nevertheless those days visiting Guatemala a familial secret was accidentally revealed to me: my grandfather was exiled in Mexico during the times the ubiquista Regime ruled Guatemala 1931-44. The cause was never revealed, however one of the four photos of my grandfather, the only ones that my family still keep together with a mexican migration ID, suggests his political involvement in Tacaná, his hometown.

Why was the dictatorship persecuting him? What kind of violence did my grandfather face? Why was his identity document disrupted, the only one which is preserved in the Guatemalan official records? What did the repressive apparatus of the State set in motion to depoliticize his existence, also to envelop with impunity everything around him in a cloud of fear and darkness? These drives took me back to Guatemala a year later, to try to underestand my grandfather’s abrupt journey. However the best response I found was silence.

Tacaná emerges from my personal autoexile, as a reflection on the unknown that I have idealized by recognizing a sense of belonging with it. It stems from a quest into memory, an attempt to explore in its self-censorship to evoke a story that refuses to be told: the brutality of the dictatorship and exile.

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