Santa Muerte (Saint Death) is a Mexican folk saint who personifies death in the form a female skeleton. The religious cult, a blend of indigenous Mesoamerican beliefs and Catholicism, is not officially recognized by the Catholic Church and while it was initially associated mostly to criminals and people living on the margins of society it is now expanding and growing at a fast pace. It is currently estimated to have between ten and twelve million followers, making it the fastest growing religious movement in the Americas.
Over the past years, the skeleton saint has accompanied tens of thousands of her devoted followers across the border and into the big cities and smaller towns of the United States, reaching an estimated number of 1 to 2 million devotees, mostly Hispanic immigrants in California, Texas and New York. The saint is particularly appealing to people on the margins of both Latin America and U.S. society because ”she” embraces everyone regardless of race, social rank, gender orientation or immigration status.
“Santa Muerte NYC” is a documentary project that explores the Santa Muerte religious movement within the Hispanic immigrant community in New York City. The project focuses on concepts of identity and belonging and delves into issues of faith and religion, a very important aspect of everyday life in diaspora.