Francisco Mata Rosas (born 1958) Mexican Artist
When I was in Mexico, I spend a little bit time in Mexico DF, which is actually the safest city in Mexico now. However I was told to never walk in some district or area: too dangerous. I remember one time in the car my friend crossing over the district of Tepito (El barrio Tepito); I was told “close your window and we will not spot even if there is stoplight.” I was looking through my window to catch everything, every little detail of this atmosphere here in Tepito. So what so special in those streets that make everybody feeling unsafe…
Few days later I was in a library near the center, when I saw one original book about portraits of people living in Tepito. I was already captivated by this project. I was willing to know more about people living in one of the most dangerous district of the city.
That’s how I discover the work of Francisco Mata Rosas: The one who relate the story of Tepito Barrio. Then I saw the other photos of this artist and find some link to Marc Riboud’s photos.
Tepito is a barrio located in Colonia Morelos in the Cuauhtémoc borough of Mexico City bordered by Avenida del Trabajo, Paseo de la Reforma, Eje 1 and Eje 2. Most of the neighborhood is taken up by the colorful tianguis or open-air market. Tepito’s economy has been linked to tianguis or traditional open air markets since pre-Hispanic times. Estimates of the area’s population may vary from 38,000 to 120,000 residents, with an estimated 10,000 more who come in during the day to sell in the market.
Tepito is a district which always fights the adversity, which never stops, never gives up. In everybody’s mind, all the essence of Mexico is coming from this area. This idea of struggle against in order to exist is a Tepito concept : shopkeeper covering up all the street of the district to prevent the bad weather or all the boxers running over streets, fighting for their commitment to life. From the sky or back to the ground, Tepito is the only example of how to survive: the address of stands or the brand of clothes are mixing with human back tattoo; wall are full of statements against the police or emblem of symbol of Zapateros, Talacheros or Fondas. All of this is propaganda for victoria : every detail is telling us « We are Here ».