The women in these pictures belong to La Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos (AFDD), a human rights group formed of relatives of people who disappeared during the repression in Chile following the overthrow of democracy in 1973. The AFDD attempts to keep the memory of the of the disappeared and seeks answers to what happened to them. The photographs they hold are of their missing relatives as a way of showing that their loved one existed. These portraits link the image of the missing person with that of someone who loved and cared about them. They also aim to show that behind these types of organisations there are ordinary people with extraordinary courage and commitment.
The photographs in this series were taken in December 2006, when Augusto Pinochet, the former head of the dictatorship, was in a military hospital living out his last days. He died on 10 December 2006, International Human Rights Day, and, poignantly, the day when some of the women in these photographs were burying one of their disappeared relatives, who had been found. These photographs were taken with the help of Gabriela Zuñiga, one of the members of the AFDD and one of the women in these pictures. The pictures were taken at the offices where the group meet weekly.
Although Chile is now seen as a democratic country there are still many questions that remain unanswered. Making those responsible for these appalling human rights crimes accountable has been a difficult task. The relative of the disappeared are a real example of people struggling for justice in the face of adversity. They have been trying to find the answer to the question ¿dónde están?- Where are they?