Just weeks after the Covid pandemic started to rip through Mexico City the mutual aid group Ayuda Mutua was formed and has since expanded to include a dozen or so organizations and lots of volunteers and donors all over the city.
While providing despensas (weekly food baskets of basics) has been the group’s main focus, they’ve also found the time and energy to get involved in other efforts for local musicians, street vendors and marginalized communities that are struggling through difficult economic times.
On Tuesday Ayuda Mutua has put together an online event they hope will weave a stronger web of mutual support between local consumers and artists. A series of talks and online performances will include Diego Beyró of Casa Equis art gallery discussing how Covid has impacted Mexico City’s art world, performance artist Andrea Garay Almada performing a piece based on movement as a form of intercultural communication, and Wakolda Lefxarw preforming a part of Medea Mapuche by Chilean playwright Juan Radrigan among other performances and talks.
Interspersed among performances will be videos created by of some of Ayuda Mutua’s partner organizations. Casa Frida is a temporary home for women and trans persons needing refuge. Heroes Locales is an offshoot of Ayuda Mutua that has been working to support market and street vendors in the city during the pandemic.
Newspaper vendors from Mi Valedor, Mexico City’s first newspaper with a self-employment model for marginalized communities, will be sharing some of their photos with the online audience and talking about their significance.
Beneficiaries of each of these organizations will also have work in the online gallery. The gallery includes local pieces including one-of-a kind silk-screened sweatshirts, traditional handicrafts, woven goods and original paintings and photographs. Proceeds from the sales will be split down the middle between the artists themselves and the group’s mutual aid fund that purchases the weekly despensas delivered throughout the city to needy families.
“The idea is to build community and networks of mutual aid while at the same time helping local artists survive this difficult economic time. We want to show people that through mutual support we can be a stronger, more resilient community. It’s also, of course, going to be a really fun time,” says Hector Bialostozky, who is running PR for the event.
The online event is free but donations are welcome. To join the event and see the online art gallery visit the Ayuda Mutua Facebook page.