Laurence Salzmann: Echele Ganas (Do Your Best): A Life Left Behind
About the Exhibition
DateSep 9 – Dec 19, 2010
LocationRemis Sculpture Court
A companion exhibition to Mexico Beyond Its Revolution. Echele Ganas (Do Your Best): A Life Left Behind is a photography and video project completed between 2004 and 2008 that portrays the ways of life of villagers in the mountainous region of La Sierra de Norte in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The images also addresses the perpetual drive of immigrant ambition, in this case of Mexican immigrants, and their right to economic freedom and material betterment to support their families and communites. I chose this region of Mexico, east of Mexico State and adjacent to Veracruz State, after meeting several of these workers from that region who reside in the Philadelphia area. They graciously invited me to visit their villages and their families and, over the course of five years, I made six visits to their villages in order to understand their drive to pursue the American way of success—literally pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and “making it.” Each trip deepened my entry into and my understanding of their personal histories. I visited homes, workshops, and stores built with the money sent home by the immigrant workers. I recorded video messages from the villagers that support the photographs and contextualize them through the expression of their hopes for their loved ones who are so far away.