Zapatista women’s festival

7000 women make a noise like a low-frequency beehive. Every morning when we crawled out of our tents in the freezing, clear air, the hum was already going and it kept getting stronger as more people woke up and started looking for breakfast. The festival was organized by the Zapatista movement and hosted by Caracol 4 in Morelia. Nobody knew quite what to expect. I arrived with a contingent from Ama-Awa, the women agroecologists, carrying tents, food and water for three days. We were pleasantly surprised to find abundant flushing toilets, food outlets (although the queues did stretch out), showers and drinking water taps… all without the presence of a single man. And no alcohol either. My friend’s ten-year-old daughter could attend any session she liked without her mum having to worry. And there was plenty to choose from, ranging from lectures on land rights, Indigenous lesbianism, masculinity in childhood to art, dance and theatre and workshops for making reusable menstrual pads. And a Colombian batucada.
I sketched participants during the lectures, amazed at the sheer range of women there… tall, short, skinny, round, old, young, lawyers, hippies, gorgeous, ugly, of all colours, made-up and rolled-out-of-bed. Here are some of them.

History of the festival: http://luchadoras.mx/mujeres-zapatistas/

Amazing photos by Trasluz photographers 

Cancuc zapatista with daughter
At the opening ceremony

 This was just one of the hardcore women who brought their babies to the event and stood with them in the hot sun for hours during the first day’s plays. Wearing layers of heavy clothing and knitted black balaclavas.

WimminCompress25
Tostada seller
WimminCompress3
Smoking and chatting
WimminCompress4
The Danish delegation

 

Zapatistas and zapaturistas

Some sketches from the art festival CompArte at the zapatista centre Caracol Oventic. The festival took place for a week at the campus of CIDECI with concerts, changing art shows, workshops, documentaries and theatre; and at the weekend there were performances at Oventic too.

barrier
EZLN soldiers holding the crowd barrier

An intrigueing experience for sure. This time I had a bit more time for sketches as most people stayed put watching the performances of theatre, dance, poetry and music.

bailable
A “bailable” dance

The girl band – like all the zapatistas, wearing Indigenous traditional dress and balaclavas – were a riot of energy and power.

singer
Zapatista girl band singer
bassist
Zapatista girl band bassist

As always, people couldn’t resist filming instead of watching. Or, in my case, drawing.

filming
Filming
audience
Spectators
ears
Ears
sketches-july-ezln1
EZLN soldier holding up a crowd barrier

Adults’ colouring in

I took a pile of my colouring-in pictures to a work party recently, reasoning that not everyone would like to join the bachata class or read a poem and this could be  a nice activity for the less extroverted of us. It worked a treat! The table with the pictures and box of coloured pencils quickly became a centre for chatting and colouring.

I was also surprised over how different everybody’s style was. Antonio started by colouring the whole elephant an even grey, according to me the most boring part of the picture. Lupe coloured all the shoes and was the only one who finished in the sense of covering her whole picture in colour. Giovanna added patterns and psychedelic details to the forest scene. Both she and José Luis gave the little girl in the picture a green or blue elf skin tone. I think this could be a hit at other events too. party-colouring-chayoparty-colouring001-compressed3party-colouring001-compressed1