43: The Aftermath of a Disappearance

About the Project

Emmanuel Guillén Lozano’s 43: The Aftermath of a Disappearance is an ongoing visual documentation of the repercussions of the mass kidnapping of 43 student protesters in Mexico that took place on September 26-27, 2014. The project follows the victims’ families and the protests they attend in Mexico City and the state of Guerrero. As investigation continues into the possible culpability of state and federal actors with a government cover up, Guillén Lozano says, “We must not forget just because the media forgets. If we forget them, then yes, they will be dead.” In 2018, the president of Mexico created the Comisión para la Verdad del Caso Ayotzinapa or Truth Commission for the Truth of the Ayotzinapa Case, and the commission has since found that the state was involved with the kidnapping, created a false narrative, and have issued arrests for those involved. Since 2014, three of the students have been identified through bone fragments, while the families of the other forty victims await information about what happened to their loved ones. Recent events, including the cancellation of a majority of the arrest warrants and interference from government officials have put the investigation at risk.

This exhibit was created in 2016, and today uncovering the truth of this disappearance and providing justice to the loved ones of the 43 is still an ongoing process. While this exhibit shows the repercussions of the mass kidnapping in the two years afterwards, it can be used today to continue to raise awareness about the lack of justice and answers provided to families, as well as spark conversations about the effectiveness of truth commissions and the idea of what constitutes justice.

about the artist

Emmanuel Guillén Lozano is a Mexican photographer and photo editor currently based in New York City. He was the 2016 ART WORKS Projects Emerging Lens Fellow.

artist discussion

Photographer Emmanuel Guillén Lozano discusses his project 43: The Aftermath of a Disappearance.

43: The Aftermath of a Disappearance discussion (4 min. video)

Emerging Lens Project

43: The Aftermath of a Disappearance was completed with support from the Emerging Lens fellowship.

Emerging Lens is ART WORKS Projects’ signature program that awards project support, unrestricted grants, and mentorship to emerging photographers working to document social justice and human rights issues in their own backyards and around the world.

public programs

July 19, 2016 at 625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago

Special thanks to speakers Iván Arenas, Associate Director for Community Partnerships, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago; Susan R. Gzesh, Executive Director, Pozen Center for Human Rights, University of Chicago; Patrick William Kelly, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In partnership with Pozen Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago.

June 9 and 10, 2016 at 625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago

June 10, 2016 at the Citlalin Gallery Theater, Blue Island

With guests Emmanuel Guillén Lozano, photographer; Ramón Marino, Noche de Guitarras; and other local Trovadores.

In partnership with Justicia en Ayotzinapa and Comité Chicago.

bring this exhibit to you

All of our exhibitions are designed to tour and can be adapted to a broad spectrum of venue types and sizes.

We are happy to provide step-by-step support for hosting this exhibit.

Contact us to learn more about bringing this exhibit to your community.

A few people look at an exhibition of Congo Women in New York

New York installation of Congo/Women

resources & tools

Learn more about this issue and the ways you can stay informed and take action.

Netflix Docuseries: “The 43”

In 2019, Netflix released a docuseries called “The 43” about this mass kidnapping and disputes the government’s account of the events, it also features some of Guillén Lozano’s photos.

“I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us”

I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa a book by John Gibler includes eyewitness accounts of the students, a teacher, soccer officials, reporters, parents of the forcibly disappeared, and others. 


January 2023: NPR published an interview with the father of one of the students to talk about the lack of answers eight years after the mass kidnapping

October 2022: Human Rights Watch issued a statement on the obstruction and corruption in the Ayotzinapa case.

September 2022: Amnesty International calls for justice and truth for the victims and their families. 

August 2022: A report into the events of the kidnapping was published by the Truth Commission. The report offered more details about the state’s involvement and led to arrest warrants for over 70 individuals. Still, the families of the victims say more needs to be done. 

Get Involved

support for this project

43: The Aftermath of a Disappearance is produced in partnership with:

The 2016 Emerging Lens was generously supported by:

  • Betsy Dietel & Michael Sands
  • Meredith George
    Dedrea A. Gray and Paul Gray
  • Laurel Appell Lipkin, In Memory of Evelyn Appell Lipkin