Valerie Salez



In 2015 I was invited to travel to Pachuca, Hidalgo MEXICO by the Contemporary Art organization FRONDA who engages their city in social art projects. FRONDA arranged for me to work with the National Family services organization DIF (Desarrollo Integral de La Familia) who oversees the care of children at risk (infant to sixteen). I spent two months working at one of DIF's facilities, Casa De Ninas, which cared for girls removed from their homes or found on the streets. Most of the children who are found on the streets are considered undocumented and are unable to attend school. It was these undocumented girls that DIF wanted me to work with. Diosas Del Agua was a process of learning about eight little known Aztec water goddesses. We embodying the characteristics and powers of these goddesses through performance art methodologies. A final performance was enacted in the facilities empty water fountain. The audience were the other girls plus the staff of the facility. With the assistance of FRONDA myself and the girls sought permission to perform in empty fountains around the city but after much deliberation permission was denied. An underlying aspect of this project, discussed among the adults, was the fact that the state of Hidalgo produces the most water in Mexico yet has the largest shortage of water in Mexico. 90% of the water produced in the mountains, valleys and rivers of Hidalgo is drained south to Mexico City were it supports over population, but mostly it is owned by the largest bottled water and drink corporation Jumex. This serious crisis around lack of water is made visible by the countless empty, ornate, colonial style water fountains scattered throughout Pachuca, the capital city of Hidalgo.