Chavalxs

  • Dates
    2021 - 2023
  • Author
  • Topics Contemporary Issues, Fine Art, Landscape, Nature & Environment, Portrait, Social Issues
  • Location Chihuahua, Mexico

Chavalxs is a collaborative community-based project which focuses on creating spaces of reflection through photography to explore narratives about young people from rural areas near the Mexico-US border that have been affected by violence.

 

Chavalxs is a collaborative community-based project which focuses on creating spaces of reflection through photography to confront narratives about young people from rural areas near the Mexico-US border that have been affected by drug trafficking and territory disputes related violence. The intention is to integrate the community and their vision into the process of artistic production, share knowledge by facilitating creative tools, discuss identity, social reality and representation, as well as contribute to existing efforts to strengthen the community and its collective memory. Simultaniusly, I incorporated more reciprocal strategies to question the photographic extractivists ways the realities of these places are usually represented through. I gave away polaroids to symbolically incorporate the participation of the kids I knew I could not reach through the workshops, but also because most people photographed in the world never get to hold or see the images that are produced and reproduced of them. Finally, we made a big installation along the roads, in each town's community spaces and a big exhibition at a gallery in Ciudad Juarez were everybody traveled to in order to share the results of our collective work.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Chavalos is slang for youngsters, we exchanged the o for an x to make the word gender inclusive. This is my cousin’s friend floating away after smoking a joint. My conversations with them deeply motivated this project.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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"People needed for apple harvest”. Young people have one of three options: if their family have money move to a city to study, working on the fields for less than the minimum wage of 15 dlls a day or to migrate to the US like Rolando wishes to.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Through my exploration I started considering more reciprocal strategies to question the photographic extractivists ways the realities of these places are usually represented through. Marcia, is a young trans girl working sorting apples.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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We made a road paste up installations to share our photos with the community. This one was taken and then glued by Gael in his hometown of Praxedis near the border with the US.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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A fourth option arises for some kids who are caught between the difficulties of reaching a dignified life and the lavished lifestyle promoted by music, narco culture and US second generation immigrants’ who come often during celebrations.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Prosperity is an illusion fueled by US culture ideals, territory disputes, natural resources trafficking and exploitation by mostly, Mormon and Mennonite segregated powerful communities colluded with far right state governments.

© Alejandra Aragon - "Great Horse Rases": We took posters that exemplify the entertainment and economic dynamics of the towns.
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"Great Horse Rases": We took posters that exemplify the entertainment and economic dynamics of the towns.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Angelina, Aurora, Evva: I gave polaroids to symbolically incorporate the participation of the young people who I knew I couldn't reach through the workshops, but also because most people photographed in the world never get to hold the images taken of them

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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The teenage queen displayed at the annual festivities of the “colonos” or the first settlers of Mexico and the US in nomadic indigenous territories of Chihuahua who were given land after the Mexican revolution took it from the great landowners.

© Alejandra Aragon - I approached local high schools to find a safe space and support system  where the workshops could reach kids in the towns.
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I approached local high schools to find a safe space and support system where the workshops could reach kids in the towns.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Juhanzy came to the workshop, invited me to his favorite spot in the mountains and took this picture of me. He is a young queer man trying to scape poverty and the trauma of witnessing his father’s gruesome murder.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Sewana is a raramuri kid who dreams of having trucks and guns by either being a soldier or a narco. In this towns most people consider themselves mestizos, white or “Guero rancheros”, indigenous young men and women are in great disadvantage.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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“Poople needed for weanling”: Expressions of creativity of young kids seen in natural spots and walls talk about their dreams and stories, but also about the lack of cultural infrastructure and art education opportunities,

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Jonathan wanted to go to the workshop, but he had to work full time after high school in his family’s piracy movies and music store. He loves anime, movies, hip hop and corridos tumbados.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Judith took this photo of her mom and her brother’s home memorial who died not long ago in a road accident. One of the main causes of young people’s death in rural areas are high speeding.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Judith’s scar. She is a very shy and quite girl from the small border town El Millon, who took extraordinary images from the first moment she took the camera in her hands.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Cock fights and dune surfing at the rural areas of the border. Alejandro's picture shows kids hanging here on weekends since there is not much to do to have fun. He also thinks it would be better if trucks and racers didn't destroy the ecosystem.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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We pasted up Adrian’s picture of a horse in this abandoned aluminum shack where a local vulcanizer was murdered. You can still see the hole in the window and the cross in his memory. The man had refused to pay extorsion.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Azul took a more intimate approach; self-portraits and close ups of her friends and family pictures. Her father was in jail for most of her life and later died. She does not like to speak much about it but loves his old school cholo pics.

© Alejandra Aragon - Image from the Chavalxs photography project
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Angelica, a 14 years old girl decided this would be the way she wanted to represent the harshness the community has gone through. For me this was the most tender way I have ever seen violence portrayed in our small towns.

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