Cemetery, Mexico City


A picture of the Sierra de la Silla in Monterrey, Mexico hanging in a bar in Zacatecas. 

Eighteen Seconds - Torture in the Tropics

Over the past few weeks, a number of international mega-news agencies have asked me for my opinions on violence in Central America. Some have also asked me to take them into the worst neighborhoods in El Salvador - for free. Go figure.

Here's a personal take on something that happened several years ago, but which I haven't forgotten, not by a long shot. It's not journalistic but it is true. And it's free, which is what people want, it seems.

Photo by me, as well.



Let us pretend, by Steve Pottinger

Take a few minutes to check out UK poet Steve Pottinger's latest video poem on the cruel absurdity of Gaza. 

For more about Steve and what he does, or to buy his books, check out his official site. It's a valuable investment in "feeding your dome." 


New interview with John Sevigny

Fuse Visual was kind enough to publish this. Please enjoy and spread it around. 


Tropicalísimo: first glance

I'm very happy to announce the completion of my new project, Tropicalísimo, one of the most eclectic and beautiful groups of photos I've ever put together. People who know photography are already getting excited about the project, such as this collector, who was kind enough to post the photograph below, along with the exhibition statement, on her Web site. 

The subject of these 35-40 photographs (which will depend on gallery space) is the tropics, as a place and as a state of mind. The pictures were taken between 2012 and 2014 in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.

I hope to squeeze in a few exhibitions (along with workshops and lectures) in 2014, but given the lead time needed to program art shows, I expect this work will be seen mostly next year.

Some of these photographs have been around for a while, so don't be surprised if a few look familiar. Most of them, however, have never been seen before.

Please get in touch with me if you'd like to program a showing of this work at your university, museum, independent art space, coffee shop, or bar. Formal proposals are already being sent all over the world and I expect to be able to confirm an exhibition or two of Tropicalísimo pretty soon.

Reach me at jmmsevigny@gmail.com.

- john sevigny


Let us pretend, by Steve Pottinger

Let us pretend.

Let us pretend 
that we haven’t been this way before
too recently and too often
that this is the way forward
that it is the road to the peace
which eluded you when you sent 
planes and tanks and men 
into Lebanon, Ramallah, Jenin,
Gaza, Gaza, Gaza.

Let us pretend
that this time will be different 
that this time will be worth it
that you can tot up the lives 
of dead children and collateral families 
and declare victory
that security can be measured
in flattened houses
burials and tears.

And let us pretend 
that when you build settlements and walls
and criss-cross the country with roads 
and stitch it with checkpoints
and cut down olive groves
and throw people from their homes
let us pretend then 
that the only terrorism in town
is the anger of young men
who build rockets they can barely aim
who have no hope,
who see their homeland dismembered before them.

Let us pretend
that this tit for tat
this tit for bloody tat
is the only way 
is the legacy you will leave 
your children and your children’s children
their children and their children’s children

Let us pretend there can be no hope
that milk and honey cannot be shared
that Israeli and Palestinian can never 
live together, laugh together, love together
two flags flutter together
let us press our face to the cross-hairs
and close our eyes
and stop up our ears
and still our beating hearts
and let us pretend, Bibi,

let us pretend.

(another recent poem by Steve. Also, check out his poetry volumes up for sale at Ignite Books)


An open letter to President Barack Obama: the immigration nightmare

President Barack Obama,

I write to express my grave concern over your lack of action on behalf of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children now held in custody (or "being sheltered", depending on who is describing their situation) near the US-Mexico border and on military bases around the United States. I also write to oppose mass deportations of children back to Central America.

Mr. President. Your perceived disinterest in tackling this issue is terrible and tragic.

Apart from requesting money to deal with what you called a humanitarian crisis, your demeanor, insofar as it can be judged by brief quotes and video clips is that of a president who simply cannot be bothered to deal with a major, international problem involving children. 

You seem apathetic and perplexed. You look like a man who has wandered into the wrong job, and maybe that's the case. 

Understand that when I voted for you I expected a measure of empathy that was completely absent during the previous administration. 

But when you refuse to visit the border region, I think of George W. Bush's "flyover" after Hurricane Katrina, looking down from the heavens as people died on live television at the Superdome.

When I see photographs of children huddled on the concrete floors of immigration holding facilities and locked in cages, I think of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the terrible images that emerged from Guantanamo after the ill-advised round-up of alleged terrorist warlords.

In your pre-emptive defense of coming executive actions last week you mentioned, somewhat snarkly, that you are not up for re-election - a sign, perhaps, that you sense that there will be no judgment for your failure to act on behalf of these detained children (beyond asking for money, and signing off on fast-track deportations). 

But I suspect you came into office with at least a few goals. True, some of those have been quashed by Republicans, who truth be told, were going to block anything you proposed anyway. But you will have to live with your failure to show compassion on this issue. You, and unfortunately, these children, who are refugees, victims, and, literally, the future of our hemisphere.

I ask you, what is to become of children deported to the terribly violent nation of Honduras? What is to become of siblings separated by adult immigration agents, whose training is not in child care, or trauma counseling, but in tracking, trapping and jailing undocumented immigrants in a desert that kills countless thousands?

You can repeat to yourself, and to the nation, that it's not your fault, that this is what happens when Republicans refuse to vote on immigration reform. But as you know, the buck stops with you. I urge you to rally your allies (Rick Perry is not one of them) and do something sensible to get families out of cages, off military bases, and into the hands of people who are trained to work with children.


John Sevigny 


A little write-up on Saturday's talk in El Salvador

Thanks to Ivan Escobar.

Read it here.