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En la Tierra Baja (In the Low Land)

Artist Feature of Alí Marín

In the river basin of the Papaloapan River in Veracruz, Mexico, the people have built a story, an economy, and a very peculiar culture and identity. Their lives are both determined and threatened by the river’s annual swelling.

This story starts from the search for my maternal grandmother Lola in a scarce family album, to explore the relationship between the community of Tlacotalpan and its river.

The annual flooding of the river poses a historical contradiction: on the one hand, it is a means of transportation, an economic source, and a detonator of identity; but on the other, it is an unstoppable force that threatens to submerge everything.

This is a story about identity preservation and memory protection. It is a story about the need to belong to our territory. It is the story of a people who refuses to disappear and imposes itself saying: “The river gives but it also takes away.”

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