Liliana Castillo Resendiz was born in 1985, the same year one of the largest earthquakes in recent history toppled much of Mexico City, killing thousands. She died May 22, 2009, after a speeding driver knocked her from her bike and set in motion a series of events that would end her life a week later, at the age of 23. As with her birth, the Earth shook the day she left this world. Albeit, much more moderately; tempered, we like to think, by the kind heart of this daughter of tumult and the creative prowess through which she was able to transform the tragedy of shaking land into the higher calling of those who sift through its ashes.
Liliana was an artist, who, by the age of 23, had already produced an extensive and inspiring body of work. She was a writer, photographer, illustrator and actress; and her love for life and freedom is represented in every aspect of her work. She was also indigenous and poor, a student at the UNAM hundreds of kilometers from her home, living a frugal life— a bowl of beans on top of the table and her hand drawn images, covering the bottom.
Her art, the mystical creatures and landscapes that would eventually adorn everything everywhere she went, which adorned her clothing as she lay on the pavement, was her spirit. Beauty, overlooked, when it mattered most.
Liliana was hit in front of a private hospital that refused to admit her or offer any assistance for a lack of insurance. After waiting, too long—her body, bloody and unresponsive upon pavement—she was taken by the Red Cross to a public emergency hospital, where she was registered as an unknown person, despite the fact that her ID was in her pocket. The delayed response allowed the swelling in her head to develop into a much more severe problem than it could have been and the lack of competent attention rapidly crushed her prospects for survival in the days to come and prevented her family and friends, who were desperately searching for her, from locating her early on. More than a day passed before they found her.
Her family never received any response from the state for any of the injustices she suffered, nor was the man who killed her held accountable, despite witness accounts claiming that the accident was due to his negligence and the fact that he fled the scene after running her over; and later, in collusion with his family, that he falsified information to pretend that Liliana was out walking after the incident and that she had even forgave him. Such are the lives of the poor.
We’ve created this gallery to remember Liliana’s life, which inspired all who knew her—even if that was but only a few hours; to contribute to the Foundation Liliana Castillo Resendiz, which is dedicated to spreading her work while supporting other young artists. And last, through her story, to never let us forget how painfully, tragically and unjustly class oppression continues to unfold in the lives of everyday people. This condition will never cease to exist until the unification of the international working class over throws capital and a new world final manifests, but there are many, many small steps along the way, which must occur before we can build a working class dual power, and this is one of them.