“Laika’s Latest Masterpiece: A Powerful Feminist Cry in Ciudad Juarez”

Street artist Laika denounces femicide in Ciudad Juarez with new artwork

In the wake of the murder of Giulia Cecchettin and on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25th), street artist Laika traveled to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (known for having the highest number of femicides in the world), to create her new artwork titled “Vivas nos queremos!” (We want to stay alive!). Over the past thirty years, more than 2,300 women have been murdered in Juarez, located in the state of Chihuahua.

Laika’s artwork is a cry of pain and denunciation, filled with details and political references. It portrays a feminist activist with her face covered and her fist raised in a sign of struggle, surrounded by roses and a pink cross, to remember Giulia Cecchettin and “all those who never made it home.” The activist’s t-shirt bears the famous phrase “Ni Una Mas” (Not One More) by poet Susana Chavez, which has become synonymous with the fight for women worldwide. The woman’s arm is adorned with tattoos that pay tribute to the Italian transfeminist militant organization “Non Una di Meno” and the women’s shelter “Lucha y Siesta” in Rome, which has housed over 1,000 women in 15 years and is now threatened with eviction by the Lazio Region. In the top right corner, the artwork features the emblem of the association “Nuestras Hijas de regreso a casa” (Our Daughters Back Home), founded in Ciudad Juarez by activist teacher Marisela Ortiz and Norma Andrade, mother of Lilia Alejandra, who disappeared on February 14th, 2001, and was found dead in an abandoned field a week later. At the bottom, the phrase “Vivas nos queremos!” (We want to stay alive!) stands out.

“Being in Ciudad Juarez represents a declaration of war against macho violence, a global scourge that must be eradicated,” declares Laika.

“In my country, a woman is killed approximately every three days, while in Mexico, about 11 women are killed every day; it is unacceptable! My artwork is a battle cry that urges us to fight together, from Italy to Mexico. In Juarez, the state knows the culprits, knows where they live, but they remain unpunished, fueling further violence. Femicide here is structural, systemic.” The artwork was displayed on Calle Ignacio Mejia, in the city center, in the heart of one of the main operating centers of “La Linea,” the armed unit of the Juarez Cartel responsible for numerous kidnappings and brutal femicides, just steps away from one of the many “Casas de seguridad” (safe houses), places of illegal activities and violence, where often the disappeared women are imprisoned, violated, tortured, and then killed. Just steps away from where the lifeless body of a woman was found yesterday. “I put the artwork in their home, with the Narcos, while they watched,” continues the street artist, “because they must always remember what they are: criminal murderers and rapists. I could never have done this blitz without the courage and support of the activists in Ciudad Juarez.” A second copy of the artwork was displayed at the Regional Museum Valle de Juarez, in San Agustin (another place with a high crime and femicide rate), in a blitz carried out with feminist activist Marisela Ortiz, who is forced to live in exile in the USA for her battles, and Lluvia Rocha, activist and coordinator of the “Rostros de feminicidio” (Faces of Femicide) project, a path of over 150 murals that were created every time a girl was kidnapped and killed. “I came here, to this place of death, with all the risks it entails, to shout to the world: enough of this massacre, this violation of human rights, a product of a patriarchal system that no longer has a reason to exist,” concludes Laika. “We must start with education to eradicate gender violence. It is an urgent battle because the numbers of femicides are constantly increasing. Not one more, not one less.”