Mara Sánchez Renero
Mara Sánchez Renero (Mexico 1979) studied photography in Barcelona, Spain, where she lived for 10 years. She was part of the collective boom of 2008, in Spain, where she was co-founder of the Malocchio and PHACTO collective.
In her work, she is interested in finding places where she can create a scenario to explore the instability of the human condition. In her images we can witness the dissolution of constructed identity, in isolating men and women from their everyday contexts and instead portraying them within the space of their imaginary fabrication, the space of their mythical existence and thus confront what’s uncertain about human nature.
Her work has been shown in different places in Europe, USA, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa, including international photography fairs such as: Basel Photo, Maco Photo Zone, Fair Material, San Francisco Photo, Arteba, Photo London and Scope Miami.
She has been awarded by POY Latin American Nuestra mirada de memoria e identidad and SAIF Revelation Photographer for The Cimarron and the Fandango, 3rd place of the Women Photographers Grant of PH Museum with Iluikak, winner of International Women in Photo Association 2020 and was a beneficiary of Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte, Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes México (FONCA 2018-2020).
The work of Mara Sánchez-Renero has been published and reviewed by international critics including, CNN, The New York Times, OAI, Zoom Magazine, Exit, Photography is art and Vision, Posi+tive Magazine, Aint-Bad, Photographic Museum of Humanity, Archive, and Dodho Magazine.
The Cimarrón and the fandango
The Little-Known World of the Afro-Mexican
During the colonial period in the Americas, a cimarrón was a fugitive black slave who lived a free life in isolated corners of society.
In the 1500s, a large number of African slaves were brought to Mexico as a workforce in different areas: mining, livestock, fishing, and domestic work, among others. By 1742, the population of blacks in Mexico exceeded the Spanish population. Today, around 10% of Mexico’s population identifies as black.
In the fight for independence from 1810 to 1821, in which different castes participated, Mexico became the first country in the Americas to abolish slavery.
During the decades of Mexico’s consolidation as an independent country, (whose maximum achievement was the establishment of the Political Constitution in 1917), the history of the African population was little by little made invisible. They were recognized within Mexico’s constitution.
In the following years, the Afro-descendant population began to group mainly in two points of the Mexican territory: Veracruz and the Costa Chica region, on the border between Guerrero and Oaxaca.
In the last two decades, the black community began a struggle for recognition by promoting debates that revolved around socio-political and identity issues. It was not until 2015 that the legal process of inclusion in the Constitution began. Discussions continue as they fight to obtain in practice the fulfillment of their rights.
Today, the self-defined Afro-Mexican population is building its own version of the past, beginning to recover and reconstruct their history – or, perhaps, to illuminate a history they had kept alive in seclusion.