The People of the clouds

The People of the clouds

The indigenous Mixtec people live in southern Mexico, the cradle of corn cultivation. Once rich in tradition and resources, "the people of the clouds" are now battling extreme poverty. Ground erosion, cheap corn imported from the USA, corruption - increasing numbers of Mixtec are leaving their homeland. Matt Black traced the migrants' path back to their origins. His long term project asks, whet will be left when everyone has left ?


a woman takes a break in front of a store in El Ciruelo, South Mexico. Matt Black travelled there over 15 times

An old man returns from his abandoned corn field (above).

Scenes from the village of San Miguel Cuevas woman prepare food for a wake (above) In the fifteenth century the Mixtec were conquered by the Aztecs, who named them the people of the clouds.

Sisters load a basket of corn. Cheap corn imported from the USA has caused the the local market to collapse.

A festival of the Holy Ghost in San Miguel Cuevas. The procession heads to the church, led by a returned migrant.

a young boy is dressed for a ceremonial dance during the festival for the Holy Ghost. Only a few young people remain in the village.

A girl works on a her families farm in San Miguel Cuevas.

Inhabitants of Santiago Mitlatongo brings possessions from the destroyed community to safety. The region suffers from some of teh worst ground erosion in the World.

a Mixtec woman cooks corn to prepare tortillas. The consumption of corn per person lies considerably lower then in the USA.

The old remains, the young leave. Black had many questions in mind for his project: can a small, isolated communities still survive in today's society ? Can an identity be preserved when most of the inhabitants go far way ?