In the Name of God: Alejandra Platt
Mexican photographer Alejandra Platt’s award-winning photography has been showcased in over 30 solo exhibitions. Now, The Embassy of Mexico in Australia and the Instituto Cervantes present her series En el Nombre de Dios (In the Name of God), showing May 6 to June 1 as part of the Head On Photography Festival.
Families from afar have been claiming the best land in Mexico as their own since the days of Spanish Conquest and into modern times – land once property of the native people.
Seeing their world conquered and destroyed by invaders, indigenous people thought their gods had abandoned them and that all the beautiful traditions they has inherited from their ancestors had been nothing but lies.
As a result of this broken and downcast heart, they began to die of utter sadness.
My own ancestry begins with the arrival of Richard Platt from England (1604-1685) who arrived at the United States in 1638. Seven generations later, my great-grandfather Frederick Platt was born (1841-1893). In the year of 1867 my great-grandfather made the decision lo leave New York for a new life in California. On their way, Frederick entered Sonora stricken by “gold fever”. He arrived at the town of Tecoripa, where the indigenous were still fighting to defend their native land.
At this time, the government displaced indigenous people from their lands and sold the land to foreigners who married Mexican women. My great-grandfather was one of these men. It is from this vantage point that there arises from within me the driving force to photograph my ancestors, the desire to discover my own indigenous roots, my family history and my obsession to know what I do not know.
My family has been inheriting these lands from generation to generation, first from my grandfather Federico until my father. I heard from my father that when he was nine years old he came upon and was chased by men with long hair, carrying bows and arrows, riding bareback upon horses. These present generations find themselves with land indebted to the new forms of life that we live, without troubling ourselves by the evil that we do.
Generations of my family have lived by means of land that belonged to indigenous people – and that we are not the only family in Mexico who lives this way. We are part of the majority and that weighs heavily on my heart.
What I long to demonstrate with this photographic exposition is the admiration I possess for my race, not that of United States but that of my own country, and I offer you these photographs as a homage to the suffering that we continue to cause.