Of lost causes (2009- ongoing)

ABOUT THE ARTWORK: At San Hipólito, on the 28th day of each month, distinct odors clash as riotously as do beliefs. Inside this 17th century church in the heart of Mexico City, the calming aromas associated with traditional Catholic places of worship -- burning candles, incense -- permeate the air. But outside the atmosphere is acrid with the stench of solvents and cheap inhalants -- dangerous and volatile, like the souls of those recently Converted to the cult of Saint Jude Thaddeus.The followers arrive here each month on foot or in public transportation from the inner-city barrios and marginalized neighborhoods that ring the city -- areas of desperation that feed the growing cult. Here, the syncretism floats in the air like an ominous cloud of hopelessness. This is the last best hope of millions of Mexico’s disaffected youth, who, spurned by ineffectual institutions, gather with their expectations for the saint of lost causes. Young seekers, whose families and other saints have seemingly shut out, are welcomed by the Claretian missionaries. Those with no where else to turn and little in their pockets will always find solace and refuge in the end-of-the-month congregation of Jude Thaddeus at San Hipolito.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Keith Dannemiller graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a B.A. in Organic Chemistry. In 1976, after four years in San Francisco, he moved to Austin, Texas where he worked for The Texas Observer, Third Coast and Texas Monthly magazines. In 1987 he decided to live and work in México as a photojournalist affiliated first with Black Star and later with Saba Press Photos. Today, independently, he pursues various visual projects that involve social problems in current day Mexico such as immigration, the informal economy and the intersection of religious and social movements. His recent book, Callegrafía, is a selection of black and white images from the Historic Center of Mexico City.