A World Separated by Borders


We are happy to present Maria Jose Enriquez, a new CS’s talent.

And remember: sundays are free of charge in the museum.


 

Old, worn out shoes aligned in a wall to create a pathway.  A structure made of wasted plastic bottles, testaments of hope and death. Massive images showing glimpses of dry landscapes and faces.  A haunting question enunciated from a discarded can: “How far would you walk to feed your family?”

 

The art exhibit “A world separated by borders” displays a series of objects and images that tell us, from different angles and perspectives, about the journey all illegal immigrants go through while trying to reach the promised land.  In a time where the immigration topic plays a central role in the political and social turmoil in different parts of the world, the artistic view of Deborah McCullough, Michael Hyatt, Alejandra Platt and Francois Robert brings a new light over the issue, since they explore the borders and the impact they create on the lives of individuals.

 

Petra Boehm, the curator of the exhibit, talked about how this project began: “It started when I first met Alejandra Platt at an opening at Etherton Gallery in Tucson four years ago. She invited me to her exhibit ‘A World separated by Borders’ at the University of Arizona. I was very moved by her photos. My entire life I have believed in the power of arts, in the possibility of art to open people’s minds. Having artists in Arizona and Sonora working together seemed a perfectly natural approach to address border and migrant issues.”

 

Migration is not exclusive to the American reality. Petra, who is from Germany but is currently living in Arizona, talked to Crónica Sonora about the parallel situations in both continents.

 

– The migrant issue is something that you experienced in Europe as well, correct?

 

– You cannot avoid it – first there were the deaths in the Mediterranean, boats that sank trying to cross from Libya to Italy. But those deaths still felt distant. Last summer, refugees both from war and bad economic prospects, started to arrive in Germany in large numbers. About one million people in the past year, nobody knows the exact number. I am realistic – this is a challenge for any society. At the same time it is absolutely necessary to see the individual, not a ‘flood’ of people. In terms of historic changes I am beginning to see two possible paths for our societies (Europe and the U.S.): We can accept the fact that in a globalized world in which pretty much everyone is connected through social media, homogeneous societies are a thing of the past. Or we can insist on ‘America First’, ‘Germany First’, ‘Austria First’, etc. and start building walls. The question of borders, how they work, how they affect people is more urgent today than ever.

 

In “A world separated by borders” each one of the artists presented the subject with a one of a kind vision.

 

– The Hermosillo exhibit is very unique. It approaches the topic of borders and migrants in different ways – different, but interconnected. Michale Hyatt choses a more conventional way of telling a story through photographs. Alejandra Platt Torres elevates the topic with the physical size of her photos – she forces us to recognize how big this issue is. Francois Robert and Deborah McCullough complement each other. Working with what is left behind by humans rather than showing their faces is a very subtle approach. Often, when we see faces of people who don’t look like us, our first impulse is to separate us from their problems. By showing the items they left behind we recognize how similar we really are. In addition, Francois Robert has staged the items as if they were objects of a commercial. By doing this, he adds value and dignity to the items and their former owners.

 

And this is probably one of the main messages delivered through the exhibit, the importance of human dignity in such a precarious situation.

 

Petra Boehm also talked about the possibility of putting together this same ensemble in Tucson, Mexico City and Europe, where some artists such as AiWeiWei are also working with this topic.

 

“A world separated by borders” opened on April 15th in the Musas museum in Hermosillo, Sonora and will be receiving visitors until June. “I think the exhibition is a huge success – and the comments in the guest book show how big the impact on the visitors is.”

Don’t miss it, guys.

By María José Enríquez

 

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine Along the Migrant Trail - Quijotoa, Arizona

Our Lady of Guadalupe by Michael Hyatt

 

 

 Opening speech by Petra Boehm

 

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen

As you can probably tell, I am not from here.

I live in Germany, a country that has a unique history with borders – for many years the country was divided by a border, by walls and fences, guarded by armed men.

When I first came to Arizona and visited Nogales I was instantly reminded of Berlin, the divided city.

26 years ago history taught me that a wall can come down.

This is how the idea of ‘A world Separated by Borders’ began: Fueled by hope in our future and the firm belief that people can overcome borders, the physical ones and the ones in our minds.

Art, in this context, is the beginning. It is a way to remind us of our shared humanity.

Pictures, sculptures, installations, paintings and music – they do not need words, they speak to the soul, to the passion.

The work of Alejandra and Debbie, Francois and Michael – different artistic approaches, one theme: That of the men and women and children risking their lives looking for a better future.

Right now in Europe we witness hundreds and thousands of people doing the same thing. Many of them perish. Here, in the desert, you may find the bones of those who did not make it, their empty water canisters.

In Europe, the Mediterranean Sea swallows their bodies, sometimes you find their bodies on the shores. Often, too often, the bodies belong to small children. Instead of black water canisters the symbol of death are orange life vests.

Water kills, either way.

Professor Herfried Münkler, who teaches history in Berlin, recently wrote that this is the new normal in a globalized world with globalized markets.

We need to be prepared for this future. Not by building more walls. But by opening our minds.

 

Thank you… Gracias.

 

wrapped shoe Francois Robert

Wrapped Shoe by Francois Robert

 

 

Helping Hand

Helping Hand by Deborah McCullough

 

Malverde... Sonora, MEX-2011-45-0016

Malverde by Alejandra Platt

 

04 Ricardo Leon©

Michael Hyatt, Alejandra Platt, Petra Boehm,Deborah McCullough and Francois Robert. Photo by Ricardo León.

 

– A D V E R T I S E M E N T S –



Acerca de

Cinéfila y perrófila. Egresada de Letras Hispánicas (Unison) y subdirectora del despacho de Relaciones Internacionales de Crónica Sonora.


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