San Diego meets Tijuana: showing art from both sides of the border

As part of a new exhibition, 42 artists from both cities have come together to look at issues plaguing both sides, with politics pervading the show


Last year, Mexican artist Chantal Pealosa brought her camera outdoors and photographed a set of clouds floating above Mexico. She then crossed the border into the US to shoot the same set of clouds. They look almost exactly the same, so why is everything down below so complicated?

This pair of photos and more are part of a new exhibition, titled Being Here with You/Estando aqu contigo: 42 artists from San Diego & Tijuana, which showcases over 100 artworks from 42 artists working in San Diego and Tijuana.

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By bringing together artists from both sides of the border, the artwork here looks at the issues surrounding the region; from public space to queer politics and the border wall.

Politics pervades the show, said Jill Dawsey, who co-curated the exhibition with Anthony Graham. We wanted to serve the binational region, as there are audiences on both sides of the border. Half are from San Diego, half are from Tijuana; the title conjures up a sense of connection and sharing space.

Among the artworks in the exhibit, Tijuana artist Abraham vila shows Writing Fate With Lines, a video where the artist presses his hand against the Mexican border wall to reveal its imprints on his skin.

You can see that it says Mexico across his hand, said Dawson. His grandmother was a palm reader, and for the artist, he views the border through the lens of his family. He rewrites cosmic narratives according to the fates proscribed by nationality and citizenship.

Alida Cervantes Saint Dorothy. Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

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As the festival kicked off, attendees participated in a vigil-like ceremony alongside the Cognate Collective, who gave out prayer candles to locals for a lighting ceremony. Each candle bore the phrase: Regresa a M/Come Back to Me.

There are 130 candles for the approximate number of detained migrants held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, said Dawson. With migrant communities facing deportation and detention, the candles invite participants to call on decolonial sources for hope, strength, and resistance.

The exhibit will also feature the paintings of Alida Cervantes, who is showing portraits of women based on Mexican folk art figurines of prostitutes. Powerful and wild, these women dispense with once-cherished dichotomies of saint and sinner, virgin and whore, said Dawson. Its very much a feminist thing, as well.

San Diego artist Kate Clark puts the citys LGBT history in the spotlight with a project called Parkeology. It features the history of Queens Circle, which is part of San Diegos Balboa Park, a former cruising ground for gay men and women. But the cruising culture changed with the emergence of the Aids crisis, and more recently, the takeover of online dating apps. By featuring cars and park benches, museumgoers can take a seat and listen to the voices of people who were once there.

James Luna Jackson Luna. Photograph: Nico Ricoy

The exhibit also features artworks by Mexican-Native American artist James Luna, who died earlier this year. One piece Luna shows is titled Jackson Luna, where he impersonates Jackson Pollock, the modernist American painter, as he hovers over a piece of cowhide with a paint can and paintbrushes.

It points to Native American culture, said Dawson. He is inserting Pollock in his work in the same way Pollock inserted Native American art into his work, as he was interested in Native artmaking.

By bringing together artists from two different cities, the museum is shaking up what it previously separated exhibits that divided artists by region. Previously, they had only shown San Diego and Tijuana artists separately. Here, they combine both. With so many things happening in region, we thought to bring the two cities together, said Dawsey. It seemed completely obvious.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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