Curated by Laura Migliorino
Selma Fernandez, David Maung,
Jill Holslin, Jorge Santiago
Opening reception Saturday, June 20th, 2015
6pm to 9pm
Show runs through September
Photographer Laura Migliorino has curated a show of photographers that are exploring the connections between the United States of America and Mexico.
Two of the photographers are Mexican but live in the United States, the other two are American but live in Mexico. The juxtaposition of these pairings are compelling, and explores the influence that immigration and perspective have on ones work. How is each photographer exploring the bi-national border between these two countries?
Selma Fernandez Richter
Fernandez Richter was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. As a photographer, she explores themes related to identity through connection with place, adaption, and religion in Mexico and the United States. Fernandez Richter’s project, The Ache for Home, is a series that explores the refugee communities in Minnesota through the lens of her own experience of immigration and adaption. She is currently a recipient of the 2015 McKnight Foundation Grant. Selma Fernandez Richter.com
Maung was born in Chicago and grew up in Minneapolis, and after 20 years of living in Tijuana, he is exploring his perceptions and experiences beyond being a photographer, but now as a resident. Through this understanding, Maung seeks to find a sense of place, order and beauty in the Tijuana chaos. In many ways Tijuanenses have more in common with their gringo neighbors than with the rest of Mexico. Many learn English watching U.S. television, buy jeans at Old Navy or Target, freely use pesos and dollars in the same purchase, and cross the border each day to study or work. This unique identity that is truly Tijuanense is what fascinates Maung. Lightstalkers.org/david-maung
Holslin was born in Morris, Minnesota and has lived in Tijuana since 2011. Since 2008, photographer Holslin has explored the contradictions and paradoxes of the border walls that try to separate the U.S. from Mexico. In San Diego the first 14-mile border wall was built using metal aircraft landing mats in 1994. The iron is now decaying, and Holslin captures tiny scrawled messages and details invisible from a distance. These “traces” left by migrants as they passed over the border wall: drawings, names, romantic gestures, emblems of their hometowns, are messages that open our eyes to another reality of migration. The wall keeps people out, but at its very presence invites people up close who use the wall as a compass to orient them in their journeys, as a place to rest, as a surface to record their thoughts. www.attheedges.com
Santiago grew up in Guelatao de Juárez, a village of about 500 people in Oaxaca’s Sierra Norte Guelatao, famous as the site of the annual Basketball competition, Copa Benito Juárez. In the Sierra basketball is king, not soccer. Santiago’s photos explore the way in which basketball reinforces indigenous identity. The basketball court is the fulcrum of activity, the center of the fiesta. Here bulls are slaughtered, bands play in massive group concerts, dances are held, and the names of the migrants sponsoring the fiesta are read aloud. JLSantiago.com
Jill Marie Holslin (Morris, Minnesota 1960)
I am a photographer and writer and I have lived in Tijuana, Baja California since 2011. Born in Morris, Minnesota, I moved to San Diego in the 1980s and studied Renaissance Literature and Culture in the Ph.D. program at UCSD, specializing in the history of borders–cultural and political–between Europe and the Middle East in the 16th century. Since 2008, I have reframed my interests, looking at the modern border between the U.S. and Mexico through the lens of my camera. My work has been published in books and magazines both nationally and internationally, and my photos have appeared in gallery exhibitions in Chicago, San Diego, Tijuana and Tecate, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Since 2008, I have explored the contradictions and paradoxes of the border walls that try to separate the U.S. from Mexico. In San Diego the first 14-mile border wall was built of metal aircraft landing mats in 1994. A second wall was erected of massive concrete filled iron bars in 2009. The wall cuts through the urban fabric of the city, through wilderness areas, delicate desert chaparral habitat, and sacred lands. Border walls are the new trend worldwide, constructed by nations as a symbol of the state’s power to protect its citizens. Their symbolic use give borders and border walls a theatrical quality–the border is a national stage, where we Americans play out our deepest fears about violence, about security, about our way of life. Walls project the aura of a guarded fortress, but their very existence simultaneously signals the state’s own weakness and desperation. We need walls precisely because the state has failed to “keep out the bad guys.” It has failed in its performance of power. Thus, in the very attempt to signal absolute power, walls are fraught with contradictions and paradoxes.
My photographs play with this tension between the strength and the vulnerability of the border wall itself. The first walls were made by taking military aircraft landing mats and mounting the heavy iron panels on posts. The iron is now rusting and crumbling with age. Drawing up close to the surface of the metal wall, I shoot close ups to capture the material texture of the rusting metal. There I find tiny scrawled messages and details that from a distance are invisible. These “traces” left by migrants as they passed over the border wall: drawings, names, romantic gestures, emblems of their hometowns, the messages open our eyes to another reality. The wall keeps people out, but at its very presence invites people up close who use the wall as a compass to orient them in their journeys, as a place to rest, as a surface to record their thoughts.