BORDÆR: Cartographies and Narratives of Migration
November 2022 to February 2023 - William Bullock Prize 2020
Awarded by USC Fisher Museum of Art + Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo de UNAM, and Palabra de Clio. In collaboration with Junt@as Vamos, Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez (MACJ), and Grupo Enfoque A.C.
Beginning in 2019, Ciudad Juarez began to receive a migratory wave of thousands of Central Americans citizens seeking asylum in the US. Many of them had been "returned" to their country of transit and forced to wait for their asylum application in Mexico. The volume of migration and hasty patchwork of federal, state, and binational policies have resulted in an overnight crisis as the city's infrastructure and social services quickly became overwhelmed.
Bordær is a collective art project, developed with a group of asylum seekers impacted by the "Return to Mexico Program" or "Migrant Protection Protocol" (MPP) and sheltered in Casa de Acogida in Ciudad Juarez. The project is envisioned as a multidisciplinary creative laboratory in close collaboration with MACJ and professionals from the disciplines of urban design, art, pedagogy and anthropology.
Participants are provided a space to narrate, draw, and expand on their experiences through embroidery. Embroidery was explored as a narrative tool to trace the spatial and territorial perspectives of the migrant experience, as well as the personal journeys of those who are currently in the shelter. These collective embroidery pieces are complemented with photographs, paintings and maps.
While not denying the fact that forced migration violates the rights, security, and dignity of people, this exhibition focuses on another fact: behind this phenomenon there are people of great strength and resilience. In this case, women who, collectively, are capable of creating a physical and emotional space of support, security, and dignity.
<<< Group of women from Casa de Acogida
Collective Embroidery piece >>>
Following in the tradition of the ancient Andean quipus, which recorded history through threads and knots, and Mexica codices, which combined image with sign to capture the past, this work shows the beginnings and the long journey of Casa de Acogida. Each embroidery represents a person from this fluctuating community, where some arrive and others leave, but all leave their personal mark on this project. The collection of pieces demonstrates an evolution in embroidery technique and materials used to create them.
Mural Map of Migration >>>
The map showcases a territory in flux, where migration and movements of species are part of its ecological systems. Encompassing the regions of Mexico and Central America, the map draws inspiration from the embroidered designs found in the women's work. The plant and animal actors featured on the map share a borderless home with humans and are connected by the threads that weave relationships.
On the map, national borders dissolve, and the shape of the territory is defined by the contrast between land and water. The stories of each species on the map intertwine with the human narratives of those who inhabit the territory, speaking to themes of resilience, resistance, and collaboration.
Photo by German Pallares
Photo of Casa de Acogida and Bags >>>
Junt@a Vamos is a group focused on solidarity and advocacy originally created and coordinated by women with cancer. Since its creation, the group has expanded its work to include vulnerable groups. These bags allow the group to generate some income while also reinforcing their sense of belonging to the community.
<<< Transición de Corpus Christi
This piece represents the two groups that are part of Casa de Acogida: the women of the Corpus Christi parish and the migrant women.