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Blood Raising

Incredibly moving and passionately angry, Mark McLoughlin's film Blood Rising brings us right into the heart of a truly terrifying world. The Mexican city of Juárez is nicknamed 'the capital of murdered women.' Irish artist Brian Maguire has spent three years working with these women to bring their stories to the international community. Well known for his social and political commitment, Maguire creates portraits of the missing women which he then shares with their families.

The mothers of the femicide victims of Juarez, Mexico, have been abandoned by their government - they have engaged the artist Brian Maguire to bring their stories to the international community. Art has become the last weapon available to them to fight the drug cartels and serial killers. Only 2% of these murder cases have been investigated and many of the mothers have themselves received death threats for simply demanding justice.

In 2010, 438 innocent women were murdered in Juarez. The mothers and families of the femicide victims of Juarez have bravely chosen to openly express their emotions through the work of the artist Brian Maguire as a last resort to find justice - for Brian it is a means of exploring how he can provide a voice for the mothers and a deeper understanding of their personal grief through his artworks.

Brian Maguire has spent 3 years working in Juarez. He spends time with the mothers of the victims gaining their trust and learning from their own experiences. From these meetings he paints a picture of the murdered person in his studio in El Paso, offering a deep sense of their spirit and personality and celebrating their life. After a period of time he returns to the family or friends and presents the painting to them. He then paints a much larger work. These paintings are being used in a series of international exhibitions, the first of these was in the centre of the European Parliament in September 2012. The film was also screened in the European Parliament at the end of February 2014.

The narrative revolves around two central stories of Elia and her murdered daughter Erika and Bertha Alicia and her disappeared daughter Brenda, tracing the final hours of their lives in detail. From this central strand we move in and out of the emotionally fueled worlds of other mothers who have lost their daughters. Brian moves through these locations and maps the stories of the innocent young women who have lost their lives. His journeys take him from studio to body dumps, to poor barrios, to the dangerous streets of the city centre, to other people who are inextricably connected to the story and back to the studio, always seeking a deeper meaning and understanding. It is also a very personal journey for Brian who has been entrusted by the mothers to produce art at a level which will speak in a provocative voice to the international community about the wanton destruction that has been visited upon their lives. Together they are fighting a battle for justice.

Blood Rising is a celebration of beauty through art and a revelation of the power of the human spirit to rise out of the most extreme and destructive situations. Its role is to honour the spirit and energy of the dead and to contextualize and understand the destruction of these lives and the mark it has left on the community.

The film and human rights campaign has been publicly endorsed by Bono and Javier Bardem.

It is also supported by Frontline Defenders and Amnesty International.

Blood Raising
  • RTÉ One, Thursday, 10.45pm