Members of a mothers' search brigad Members of a mothers' search brigade in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora.

Embroidery of searching mothers strikes a nerve and goes viral

'These mothers are doing more than any prosecutor has been able to do'

One of the more poignant stories of Mexico’s crisis of missing people is in the teams of “searching mothers” that have formed all over the country to look for hidden graves, hoping to find the bodies of their lost children.

Now, an artist’s work honoring those mothers has gone viral on social media.

The embroidered piece, part of the exhibition Maternar (Mothering) at the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) in Mexico City, depicts four women digging with shovels along with the words, “And if I find him or her, then what?”

The artist, Pau Cuarón, posted an image of her work on the social media platform Instagram, and it was widely liked and shared.

“I loved this. It made me cry, it made me sad and very angry, and I felt a great tenderness,” commented one Instagram user.

“These mothers are doing more than any prosecutor has been able to do. They are great women and you [are] great for making such a powerful piece,” another social media user wrote.

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‘And if I find him or her, then what?’ The embroidery on display at a Mexico City museum.


Cuarón also shared a fragment of the book In Vitro by Isabel Zapata, which she said inspired her as she worked.

“A little while ago I read the testimony of a woman who, after years searching for her missing daughter, finally was able to hold her remains, which were found in a hidden grave. To the question of how she felt having those bones in her hands, the mother answered that it was like holding a newborn baby,” the book reads.

The MUAC exhibition Maternar features art created over the past two decades and explores themes related to motherhood while moving away from tired stereotypes. The exhibition opened November 20 and runs until June 2022.

With reports from Milenio

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