Kernals

Chair for: Adan Abraja de la Cruz

Designed and created by Patrick Baliani
Tucson, AZ

The more I read about these missing students, the more I admired their resolve—overcoming hardships while striving to be educators. I knew I wanted my son, Julian, to participate. We thought of the missing students as brothers, so our designs are meant to complement each other. Since the students were all very young, and quite noble in their own ways, we created small thrones for them. Mine is for Adan Abrajan de la Cruz, who was born in Tixtla. The name is Nahuatl, and is thought to mean “maize dough,” so my chair is made with kernels of corn, matching regal colors, and simple ribbons of dignity.

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The Artist
The Student
El Estudiante
The Location
Location Images

About this Artist

Patrick Baliani

Tucson, AZ
Patrick Baliani is a Tucson playwright and a faculty member of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Honors College, University of Arizona. He is the theatre columnist for The DesertLeaf and was drawn to the 43 Empty Chairs Project after being introduced to the newly formed Teatro Digna Theatre company.

Biography [English]

Adan Abraja de la Cruz

1. Adan Abrajan de las Cruz was born in Tixtla, January 2, 1990 and very seldom left the area. A couple of times he went to Toluca to work in construction. He even went swimming a few occasions to Acapulco where an aunt had a house. That was all. Of the 43 'normalistas' disappeared, 15 were born in Tixtla. Adan was one of them, although some of them never knew it. 2. On June 7, 2014, elections in Tixtla could not be carried out to completion. More than half of the ballot boxes were destroyed in conjunction with a call to boycott the election as a protest for the disappearance of the students on September 26, 2014. That same afternoon, in anger for the destruction of the ballot boxes, about 50 people occupied forcefully the municipal auditorium which until that moment was taken by 'normalistas' students. This group affirmed that 'they wanted to defend their right to vote and be eligible to be voted'. This group of people shouted: "we are fed-up!" They were fed up not of the injustice perpetrated to the 43 students but fed up of the students creating chaos in Tixtla. Fed up not of the massacre of students, but of the marches and demonstrations, of the graffiti on the walls, the blocking of the roads. Fed up of seeing foreign reporters in the streets of Tixtla and activists eating in their market. Fed up of seeing so many unfamiliar people. In reality - that is what they said - the "normalistas" students were not native of Tixtla. The students always come from far away, from other communities, from other villages, from other states. And what right do 'they' have to impose new customs. Tixtla is for 'Tixtlaños' was printed on their banners. 'Tixtla is for Tixtleños' they repeated thousands of times. 3. June 7, 2015, the inhabitants of 'El Fortin', the village where Adam's family live, agreed to burn ballots in the middle of the street. A few months earlier, on March 23, someone knocked at the door of Adam's house. The house is where he lived with his parents, Bernabe Abraham and Delfina de la Cruz. The same place where his sisters and companions lived also, in the same place where his wife and two children lived and played. It was mid day when someone knocked at the door. Delfina opened the door to find two members of the Election National Institute. They told her, mother of Adam, that he had been selected to be one of the voter's officials in the coming elections. Adam has been already disappeared for 6 months but INE didn't know that fact.

Biografía [Español]

Adan Abraja de la Cruz

1. Adán Abraján de la Cruz nació en Tixtla —un 2 de enero de 1990— y pocas veces se movió de allí. Alguna vez fue a Toluca a trabajar como peón en una construcción. Llegó a nadar un par de ocasiones en las playas de Acapulco, donde una tía suya tenía una casa. Nada más. De los 43 normalistas desaparecidos, 15 nacieron en Tixtla. Adán era uno de ellos, aunque algunos nunca se enteraron. 2. El pasado siete de junio no hubo elecciones en Tixtla. Más de la mitad de las casillas fueron saqueadas ante el llamado a boicotear los comicios, en protesta por la desaparición de los estudiantes, el 26 de septiembre pasado. Esa misma tarde, inconformes con el sabotaje, medio centenar de personas tomaron por la fuerza el auditorio municipal, hasta entonces ocupado por los normalistas. Medio centenar de personas que, dijeron, venían a defender su derecho “a votar y ser votados”. Medio centenar de personas que, gritaron, estaban hartos. Hartos no de la injusticia, sino de que los estudiantes tuvieran a Tixtla de cabeza; hartos no de las masacres, sino de las marchas, de las pintas en las paredes, de las carreteras bloqueadas; hartos de ver a periodistas extranjeros por las calles y a activistas chilangos comiendo en el mercado; hartos de tanta gente extraña. Al final de cuentas, así dijeron, los normalistas ni siquiera eran nativos de Tixtla: los estudiantes vienen siempre de lejos, de otras comunidades, de otros pueblos, de otros estados. Y ellos qué derecho tienen de venir a imponer sus reglas. Tixtla es para los tixtleños, rezaban sus pancartas. Tixtla es para los tixtleños, repitieron mil veces. 3. El pasado siete de junio, los habitantes de El Fortín, la colonia donde vive la familia de Adán, quemaron, por común acuerdo y en mitad de la calle, todas las boletas electorales de ese distrito. Meses antes, el 23 de marzo, alguien llamó a la puerta de la casa de Adán. La misma casa donde todavía duermen sus padres, Bernabé Abraham y Delfina de la Cruz; la misma donde aún viven sus hermanas, con sus respectivas parejas; donde aún come su esposa y juegan sus dos hijos. Era mediodía, y alguien llamó a la puerta de esa casa. Apenas se asomó a la calle, Delfina se encontró a un par de funcionarios del Instituto Nacional Electoral. Venían a avisarle que su hijo había sido seleccionado para ser funcionario de casilla en las próximas elecciones. Adán estaba a punto de cumplir seis meses de desaparecido, pero el INE tampoco se había enterado.

The Chair's Location

Ground floor of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone Avenue
Tucson AZ US

Location Images

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