Meet the holy "dancing clowns" of Mexico

By Evelyn Nieves
Portrait of a dancing clown with the typical costume. They prefer to use masks and not reveal their identity. From the group Cuadrilla de Juquilita in Coatepec, Veracruz, Mexico. 2016. Credit: Luján Agusti/Native Agency
During a religious procession in Veracruz, Mexico, Lujan Agusti encountered an odd sight: clowns. They did not clown around, not at all. These clowns gracefully, piously, danced. Ms. Agusti’s “Dancing Clowns” is a series of surreal portraits, elaborate and visually unsettling. In other words, they are like clowns in the real world, or, as she stresses, in the religious world. Garish, they clash with their backgrounds and even themselves. "Syncretism," Ms. Agusti said, was used by colonizers as a tool to exercise power over a community. Her Mexican clowns, she hopes, bear witness to that history, however lost it may seem today. [link]

Luis Angel holding his bonnet. There are no social requirements to participate in the group, but participants must not be drunk or violent and must respect the leader’s orders.

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