Mystery of the Disguised.

Koral Carballo

2014 - 2020

Veracruz, Mexico

This series is a visual exploration of the oral history of a town in Veracruz called: Coyolillo, an Afro-Mexican community in southern Mexico with a history of historical freedom.

The founders of Coyolillo were Africans from Angola and Congo who worked in the fields harvesting sugar cane for the haciendas in the central region of the state of Veracruz during the 11th, 16th, and 17th centuries.

Coyolillo's grandparents tell how the slave owner of the San Miguel de Almolonga hacienda forced their ancestors to work in deplorable conditions and with only one day of rest per year.

Thus, to celebrate this day, their ancestors organized a feast celebrating freedom. Over the years, this celebration was transformed into a Carnival. The protagonist of this celebration is the "disguised", "jejes" or "negros", who cover their faces and transform themselves (in performance within the community) into animals with horns, such as bulls, deer, and cows.

This story is an allegory of the oral history of this ancestral tradition of freedom that comes from Africa and is preserved in a hidden village in the valley of Mozambique located in Veracruz, Mexico.

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