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Photo Exhibition - 20th Anniversary: Zapatista Path To 2014

21 January 2014

A series of iconic photographs covering 20 years in the construction of Zapatista autonomy.

Place: Thistle Gallery, Cnr Cuba and Arthur Street

Dates: 27 January – 02 February

Opening Hours: 11am – 6pm daily.

Launch: 5.30pm Monday 27 January

Closing: 6pm Sunday 02 February

On January 1st 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, the Zapatistas in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas said “Enough!!” and took a stand against attempts to further dispossess them of their indigenous lands and culture. Within weeks of their armed uprising, a series of mass rallies forced then-president Carlos Salinas to call a ceasefire. The following negotiations produced the San Andres accord of 1996, which granted autonomy to rebel villages.

In a historic address to the Mexican parliament in 2001, EZLN Comandante Esther urged deputies to approve autonomy legislation, but Mexico’s political parties diluted the San Andres agreement. The rebels retreated into silence, vowing to construct autonomy on their own.

And they did. For the last 20 years they have pursued a peaceful path, constructing from below and to the left a “world in which many worlds fit”.

This exhibition features photographs of leading personalities, and of the people of the communities utilizing indigenous knowledge, skills and languages to develop health, education, legal, economic and political structures.

Also appearing are photos of the several international ‘encuentros’ when thousands of people from around the world came to see the Zapatistas’ achievements with their own eyes, and to learn how they did it.

These are photos of ordinary and extraordinary moments in 20 years of the life of a people under constant military and paramilitary threat, going about the business of survival following a path of patience, dignity, and resistance.

Their strength, humanity and spirit, their environment, and their struggle is a testament not only of survival, but also of how to build a better world for all.

Proceeds from sales will go to the autonomous Caracol 111 of the La Garrucha Tzeltal Selva Zone, Chiapas, Mexico.


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