The Blood and the Rain
by Yael Martínez and Orlando Velázquez

Created as a part of our initiative to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, The Blood and the Rain merges photographs and traditional engravings to explore indigenous spiritual practices in the artists’ home state of Guerrero, Mexico. 


About the project

Through narrow, winding, and treacherous mountain terrain, ancestral communities in Guerrero, Mexico travel on foot for 50 kilometers, or about 31 miles, to reach their sites of ritual. Once there, they perform rain rites, processions, dances, animal sacrifice, and other indigenous spiritual practices of gratitude to the earth to ensure good harvests and full rivers, and to protect against water scarcity and the ravages of heat.

Because the rituals themselves are not allowed to be photographed, Yael and Orlando sought a way to document and honor the community’s cultural expressions without exposing or violating them. In the process, they generated a new visual form portrays the physical and metaphysical layers of the rituals and the relationships that exists between the people, their gods, and nature.


about the artists

Yael Martínez explores the connections between poverty and organized crime in his community of Guerrero in southern Mexico. He often works symbolically to evoke a sense of emptiness, absence, and pain suffered by those affected by drug trafficking in the region. Yael was named one of PDN’s “30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch” in 2017. In 2015, he was selected for the Joop Swart Master Class of Latin America; he was a finalist for the Eugene Smith memorial grant in 2015 and 2016; and he was nominated for the Paul Huf Award, the Prix Pictet, and the ICP Infinity Awards.

Orlando Velásquez is is an award-winning graphic artist and illustrator whose work explores concepts of the sacred and the profane through the lens of Guerrero’s current state of violence and death. A graduate of the Visual Arts Center in Morelos, his work has been exhibited at Fonca, the National Fund for Culture and Arts, and the Institute of Graphic Arts of Oaxaca.


The Blood and the Rain will be debuted at this year's Photoville, a modular photo festival built out of shipping containers, combining indoor and outdoor exhibitions, talks, workshops, and screenings. Photoville takes place in Brooklyn from September 13–17 & 21–24. Featuring 20 prints of varying sizes and an ambient soundscape, The Blood and the Rain will be presented in a 20 foot shipping container, atmospherically lit with spotlights. The container is designed to reference the cavernous site of ritual at the end of a narrow, winding, and arduous 30-mile mountain path.

Comprised of prints, video, and audio, an installation of The Blood and the Rain can be flexible and responsive to site specifications. In the fall of 2017, Yael and Orlando will bring the work back to the community, and there is potential for new production and expansion for future exhibitions of the work.

Print sizes

23.62 x 35.43” (x3)
20.86 x 31.49” (x6)
15.74 x 23.62” (x6)
39.37 x 59.05” (x1)
7.87 x 11.81” (x3)