Adél Koleszár & Esteban de la Torre: Only have faith




2024.06.19. 18.00–21.00


“Only have faith” is the slogan of El Colectivo Solecito de Veracruz, a volunteer group of roughly 200 women dedicated to excavating Latin America’s largest recent mass grave in search of their missing relatives, victims of the alleged drug war combined with systemic violence in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. The exhibition features the photography, interviews, and field recordings captured by Adél Koleszár, who collaborated with the collective for over a year between 2017 and 2018. Presented for the first time as an immersive, interactive sound installation created and engineered by Esteban de la Torre, this collaboration offers a profound, sensory experience of the collective’s journey.

Due to its large ports and extensive network of highways, Veracruz is a strategic location for drug cartels, making it a significant hub for trafficking. As a result of the complicity between criminal groups and top-level Mexican authorities, security forces have been committing systematic disappearances in the area, sometimes referred to as “social cleansing.” During these operations, many people—primarily youth—who are presumed to belong to criminal groups are killed or disappeared. These tactics are used to eliminate rival groups under the guise of official activity without being investigated.

The activity of El Colectivo Solecito de Veracruz challenges power structures by bringing attention to the issue of violence and insecurity, which is often linked to corruption and other forms of abuse of power. Search groups typically work independently of the government, using the free time of volunteers. However, El Colectivo developed a new system to self-fund the full-time excavation of the Colinas de Santa Fe mass grave: by selling food and used clothes, they have been able to pay volunteer mothers to leave their daily jobs and dedicate themselves to the search in eight-hour weekday shifts. Through the collective’s efforts, the volunteers provide a voice for the families and victims of systematic violence, demanding justice and accountability from those responsible.

Going against the graphic images of violence circulating in the mainstream media, Koleszár’s photographic approach centers on the scarred landscape, the surrounding villages, and the volunteers who are subjected to systemic neglect and marginalization by authorities. Produced in collaboration with Esteban de la Torre, who is familiar with the Veracruz are from his childhood, the exhibition offers a more nuanced, empathetic, and sensory portrayal of the struggles faced by El Colectivo.

Text by Adél Koleszár and Veronika Molnár

Graphic design by Veroni Bátfai

Special thanks to the gallery team: Veroni Bátfai, Zita Matulányi-Szabó, Janka Tasi

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