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12 July 2011

Maya Goded, Welcome to Lipstick and Land of Witches


These photographs were taken in a red-light district close to the Mexico-United States border, behind walls concealing the prostitutes from the rest of society. Violent and lawless, this once-flourishing neighbourhood now seems entirely inhabited by ghosts, and few people dare to visit. But despite this decline, these women’s struggle for survival keeps their district alive.


After finishing the work on the series Missing about the women who disappeared or were killed on the Mexican border of the USA, the need to change destiny, do justice to impunity and work on my own fear was born. So I decided to make a few trips to northern Mexico, to look for my own healing, and restore my love for photography. After these trips, the photographic series called Land of Witches was created. In Latin America, the Spanish conquest brought with Catholicism the persecution of women related to witchcraft, both Spanish and indigenous. These local people, called ‘shamans’ or witch doctors, had a great knowledge of herbs and the balance with their environment. Although the witchhunt was a common practice, these beliefs continued to be practised clandestinely and are still alive throughout Mexico. The witches I look for, in the most Catholic states, are a mix of European and indigenous. In these villages everybody goes to look for them but, fearing their power, in the end they become outcasts because they are different from other women living in the village.

Maya Goded


Exhibition venue : Atelier des Forges, Rencontres d’Arles 2011.