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Impressions of Disappearance in Argentina

Monday, January 13


Newton Senior Center

Estelle Disch

This talk will describe my artistic response to a deeply haunting place - the former School for Navy Mechanics in Buenos Aires (aka the ex ESMA). About 5,000 people were captured and taken to this clandestine detention center during the last Argentinean dictatorship and only about 200 emerged alive; the rest are counted among the estimated 30,000 disappeared.


During this talk I will provide some historical context about the dictatorship and a few stories about people I know who were victims of it. I’ll talk about both my artistic process in creating the images and demonstrate the Photoshop tools I used to create them. The images can be seen in the Memory and Justice gallery on my web site ( I’ll also discuss the ethics of making art based on a tragedy and what I did to address that concern.


Newton Senior Center
345 Walnut Street

Newton, MA 02460

Enter by the back door. Take steps (or elevator) up to the main floor and turn left. The meeting room is on the left. Parking is on streets around Newton Senior Center.

Estelle Disch


I’m a sociologist with a post-retirement career making photo-based digital art. For the past 8 years I’ve been a teaching assistant in Photoshop and other digital courses at New England School of Photography with Sue Anne Hodges. I met the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo through my late partner Rita Arditti, who wrote a book about them (Searching for Life: The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina, University of California Press, 1999). The Grandmothers are looking for about 500 grandchildren taken during the dictatorship, most of whom were born in captivity, many in the ex ESMA. The Grandmothers have thus far identified 130 grandchildren. 

Visit her website for more information.

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