The Blood and the Rain: Peticion de Lluvias

In the of Tlapa community of Guerrero, Mexico they sacrifice two goats at the top of the mountain to make an offering for the rain petition. (Intervened photograph by Yael Martinez & Orlando Velazquez)

By Yael Martinez

In Guerrero, Mexico there are communities which still perform pre-hispanic ceremonies. They are ancestral Meso-Americans who see both blood and rain as sacred. Our project, The blood and the rain, sought a way to document the rain petition rituals and sacrifices which they perform, but do not allow to be photographed. By combining photography with drawing, we found a way to explore the layers of the physical and metaphysical in these rituals without exposing or violating them.

For us it is very important to represent, in a symbolic way, the relationship that exists between people, their gods, and nature. We wanted to talk about the close bond that is maintained between them and how the rain ritual is more than an event or a performance, it is a philosophy of life that holds in balance the cycles of sacred forces such as wind, sun, rain, earth. Where, through sacrifice and pain, blood is gratefully given to the earth – the generator of life.

When we visited this sacred place, we thought about faith and what might drive a person to climb a mountain, to cross it regardless of the weather, pain, or fatigue. And we thought about what makes some members of the community of Zitlala offer their pain and their blood to give something back to the earth: the immense sacred being.

The Blood and the Rain: Peticion de Lluvias was written by Yael Martinez as part of a collaboration with artist Orlando Velazquez with support from the Magnum Foundation’s “On Religion” project. 

To read more about this project see “Work, Spirits, and Rain” by Julio Glockner.


Yael Martinez explores the connections between poverty and organized crime in his community of Guerrero in Southern Mexico. He often works symbolically to evoke a sense of emptiness, absence, and pain suffered by those affected by narcotrafficking in the region. Martinez is a grantee of the Magnum Foundation, and was named one of PDN’s 30 new and emerging photographers to watch in 2017. In 2015 he was selected for the Joop Swart Master Class of Latin America. He was a finalist for the Eugene Smith memorial grant in 2015 and 2016, and was nominated to the Paul Huf Award, the Prix Pictet, and the ICP Infinity Awards.

Orlando Velazquez has a Bachelor’s degree in Arts (Centro Morelense de las Artes del estado de Morelos 2010-2014) Diploma in Visual Arts (Centro Morelense de las Artes) Diploma in painting from The National School of Plastic Arts (ENAP). He has received the Fonca’s Jóvenes Creadores Grant in Grafic Art 2016 – 2017 Aquisition Prize in XXXIV Encuentro Nacional de Arte Jóven 2014 Aguascalientes, México, honorable Mention at the 9th Biennial of painting and engraving Paul Gauguin 2015 and was selected in the II International Biennial of Engraving Jose Guadalupe Posada and the fifth-national biennial Shinzaburo Takeda. His work has participated in group exhibitions in Mexico, Chicago and Canada ; He has exhibited individually at the Institute of Fine Arts Potosino, San Luis Potosi Mexico; and the Gallery of Centro Morelense de las Artes Cuernavaca Morelos.

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