Skip to main content

San Diego Artists Honor 43 Abducted Mexican Students

Photo by Jill Replogle

A piece by San Diego artist Maria Pavis Leon in honor of one of the 43 students abducted in central Mexico. The text in Spanish reads: "To be a student in Mexico is lethal." Dec. 11, 2014

San Diego artists are joining the cry for justice in the case of 43 students suspected to have been killed by a drug gang in Central Mexico.

Forty-three artists created pieces to honor each one of the students. The art will be shown at a new gallery in Barrio Logan on Saturday.

Elena Marques Lozano, one of the show organizers, said the goal is to bring a face to each of the students. She and other artists have collected biographical details and anecdotes about the lives of the 43.

"Like for one of the students, he would always tell this really terrible joke about Sponge Bob,” Marques Lozano said. “Everyone would roll their eyes, but now they would do anything to hear him tell that joke."

One of the artworks, by San Diego artist Isaac Coronado, who is also called Optimus Volts, is a frame surrounding 43 raised black skulls, each with a number on it. In the middle is a larger skull bearing the insignia of Mexico’s national flag.

Photo by Jill Replogle

Forty-Three Skulls by Optimus Volts. The piece will be shown as part of an art show in honor of 43 students abducted in rural Mexico, Dec. 11, 2014.

In the last two months, protests have been held across Mexico and elsewhere demanding that the Mexican government solve the case of the 43 students who were abducted in September while on their way to a protest. The students attended a rural teachers college in the state of Guerrero.

Mexican officials have told the public that members of a drug gang confessed to kidnapping and murdering the students.

Investigators initially combed through several mass graves that turned out not to contain the remains of the students. But this month Mexican authorities announced that DNA testing had positively identified the remains of one of the students, Alexander Mora, among charred remains found near a garbage dump.

The alleged kidnapping of the 43 young men took place after police from the town of Iguala engaged in a violent confrontation with the students in which six people were killed.

The mayor of Iguala and his wife fled soon after news broke of the students’ disappearance. They were captured in early November and both remain in custody.

The art show takes place 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Original Gentlemen Barbershop and Art Gallery, 2113 Logan Ave.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.