06 May 2019

A Poetic Tale Honouring a Missing Mexican Woman

06 May 2019 - Written by PhMuseum

In her series Letters to Gemma, Mariceu Erthal Garcia immerses herself into the story of a Mexican woman who disappeared eight years ago, documenting the places she once inhabited and the people closest to her.

"We did not find her body, we know she died, they recognised her mole, they say she was in a fetal position when they found her, she seemed frozen, her body was in perfect condition as if she were sleeping" - Gemma Mavil.

Gemma left home for a job interview, but never returned. In a file lost for eight years in injustice, lies the record of her lifeless body, the order of exhumation and the note that her body was not found. This project is an immersion into, and a personal connection to, her world, her poetry, the union with her parents, the flowers that she cultivated, and the melancholy remembrance of her desire to live.

The letter:

Today I walk through your door, which remains open waiting for you to enter smiling, as if anything had happened, a delay in the bus, a meeting with a friend, or just lost the notion of time reading a book as you liked to do. As if those years had not consumed the walls and turned off all the lights of the house. But today, I only arrive. You were my age when your dreams were destroyed, and since I heard your story I am afraid that someone will turn off mine, and if today I disappear, by knowing your story they would read mine, because I inhabited your spaces, I felt you in mine, embrace the tired look of your parents and I deeply feel your story interrupted.

Words and Pictures by Mariceu Erthal Garcia.


Mariceu Erthal García is a Mexican photographer whose work explores the thin line between documentary and fine art. She uses photography as a tool to explore territory and its socio-cultural language, humanitarian issues and daily life, and everything considered autobiographical. This year she was selected for the World Press Photo 6x6 Global Talent Program for North and Central America and has been nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass. Find her on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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