Edition 2010

Marcos Adandia

Mothers of the disappeared

There is no word for a mother who has lost her child. There is no way of naming such a pain.
In my country’s recent history, during the years of the military dictator- ship, the violence of state terrorism took thirty thousand lives.
And in the name of the authorities’ perverse vision for the future of this society, people were tortured, murdered: children, women, the old, students, workers, journalists, artists, intellectuals and all belonging to any form of expression that was not within the framework of their plans. Plans that depended on a society that from then on would remain paralysed in fear.
In this context, it was maternal love alone that gave one group of women, in the darkest days of Argentinian history, the courage to step forward and state their claim in the face of a terrorised society: taking to the streets, banging on doors, and facing down the indifference and mockery of the authorities, they set up a permanent camp in Argentina’s most symbolic site, the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the government headquarters, the so-called Casa Rosada.
One by one, they covered their heads with a white linen diaper, which once, in times when their dreams were of a different hue, had belonged to their sons and daughters.
And with those diapers as a sign of hope of some day recovering their children, they joined in a circle that would never, ever end.
From then on, and to this day, every Thursday afternoon, they have walked in a circle around the Mayo pyramid, a symbol of Argentinian freedom. A ritual of love and of peace, every Thursday and forever.
Over time, the diapers were replaced with sturdy white scarves, and many of the women have become old ladies, with their illusions intact. Eyes beaming with the question ‘Why?’, and an open wound that still bleeds as on the first day.
Marcos Adandia
Framing by Circad, Paris.
Exhibition venue: Atelier des Forges, Parc des Ateliers.
There is no word for a mother who has lost her child. There is no way of naming such a pain. In my country’s recent history, during the years of the military dictatorship, the violence of state terrorism took thirty thousand lives. And in the name of the authorities’ perverse vision for the future of this society, people were tortured, murdered: children, women, the old, students, workers, journalists, artists, intellectuals and all belonging to any form of expression that was not within the framework of their plans. Plans that depended on a society that from then on would remain paralysed in fear. In this context, it was maternal love alone that gave one group of women, in the darkest days of Argentinian history, the courage to step forward and state their claim in the face of a terrorised society: taking to the streets, banging on doors, and facing down the indifference and mockery of the authorities, they set up a permanent camp in Argentina’s most symbolic site, the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the government headquarters, the so-called Casa Rosada. One by one, they covered their heads with a white linen diaper, which once, in times when their dreams were of a different hue, had belonged to their sons and daughters. And with those diapers as a sign of hope of some day recovering their children, they joined in a circle that would never, ever end.From then on, and to this day, every Thursday afternoon, they have walked in a circle around the Mayo pyramid, a symbol of Argentinian freedom. A ritual of love and of peace, every Thursday and forever.Over time, the diapers were replaced with sturdy white scarves, and many of the women have become old ladies, with their illusions intact. Eyes beaming with the question ‘Why?’, and an open wound that still bleeds as on the first day.

Marcos Adandia

Framing by Circad, Paris.
Exhibition venue: Atelier des Forges, Parc des Ateliers.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture