Agustin RAMIREZ JIMENEZ
Birthplace: San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, México
Date of decease: 23.01.2011
Painting Method: Mouth painter
I was born on November 29, 1959 in San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jalisco.
In an effort to improve myself and help my parents, I entered illegally to the United States. The process was not easy and for a long time I could not find work. After working for a year and a half, on Friday November 20, 1983, I left work as I do every Friday, and went to cash my check from my week´s earnings. Before I got home, I felt the presence of someone at my back and in that moment I was pulled by my shirt and, as I turned, I saw a black person. Without saying a word I was shot, I then fell to the ground and could not move. I was then dragged towards a dark area and was robbed.
I was turned facing down and I thought at that moment that I would be killed. Now I am grateful to God that I wasn´t. When I saw the person walk away I started screaming. The police and ambulance arrived at the scene and I was taken to the Centinela Hospital where I was operated on and a bullet from my neck was removed. The next day I was transferred to Luther King hospital since I did not have insurance. I was in intensive therapy for a long time, fearing death. I was later transferred to another hospital called Rancho Los Amigos for rehabilitation.
While my parents arrived from Mexico, my girlfriend took care of me. I am very grateful for her support. After five months I experienced a strong urinary infection which complicated matters and I returned to intensive therapy for an additional three months.
During that time the Persian Gulf War had started. The help I was receiving was cancelled since many of us did not qualify given that we did not fulfill the requirement of 3 years of work pursuant to the law.
We had no other choice but to return to Mexico. I spent a long time staying indoors since I felt ashamed and did not want others to see me in this condition. However, as time went by I was able to overcome this feeling and with the help of my parents and siblings I started taking painting classes. I give thanks to God and the Virgin of Guadalupe that I did not have to return to hospitals. I am also grateful for meeting Ismael Martínez Ibarra, member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, who facilitated for me the process of becoming part of this group.