Santa Muerte

The popular devotion to the folk saint Santa Muerte has quickly expanded in Mexico since the early 2000s. Single mothers, migrants, unemployed people, terminal ill, sexual minorities, criminals and sex workers find protection and a community around the image of Santa Muerte in Mexico but also among Mexican and Latin American migrants in the USA.

The image is venerated by people who live at the margins of society or at the very edge, in contexts of extreme vulnerability and uncertainty. The rise of the folk saint allows to understand (in)justice, violence and death in contemporary Mexico.

The photos below are a series of portraits of the devotees of Santa Muerte. The pictures were taken in Mexico City and Puebla, Mexico, between 2015 and 2018.

Copyrights of these images remain by the author.

For further information on the devotion to Santa Muerte:

Watch my presentation ”Santa Muerte: Crisis, Vulnerability and Death in Neoliberal Mexico”.

See the short video ”Santa Muerte: Spaces and Celebrations”.

Read my article “Who are the Narcos Praying To? Emancipation and Justice in the Narco Culture of Mexico”.

Look at my collaboration on the exhibition ”Most Wanted”.