Home Institution

University of Washington

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights


The dissemination of portraiture of the forcibly disappeared in Argentina represents a key strategy of visual protest within Argentina’s human rights movement, and an effective tool for ‘collective memory construction’ of the forcibly disappeared. Its history of use spans from the last dictatorship, to protests of forced disappearances in modern Argentina’s democracy. Following the disappearance of a young artisan, Santiago Maldonado, from a ‘route cut’ he participated in on August 1st, 2017, alongside the Mapuche community of Pu Lof, in protest of the Italian multinational clothing manufacturer Benetton’s control of their ancestral lands, a massive dissemination of his portrait was realized, filling much of Argentina’s public space with his gaze. This intervention of artistic activism was one of the largest in Argentina’s recent history, and focused international attention on the persistence of state violence in modern Argentina. The disappearance of Maldonado catalyzed the circulation of his image worldwide alongside the question: ¿Dónde está Santiago Maldonado?


Arts and Humanities | Civic and Community Engagement | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Politics and Social Change


Article Location