New Museum At Exhibit
By Valeria QuezadaThe Icons and Symbols of the Borderland: Art from the US-Mexico Crossroadsexhibitrepresents and addresses the US/Mexican Border at a time that its boundaries and populations are always shifting. This exhibit is curated by Diana Molina and features twenty-five members of the JUNTOS Art Association. This association reflects the regional population and its international ties from American, Mexican, and South American members. All products and participation of the group is varied inages and cultural backgrounds. The various programs and events connect with people at such a wide range, regionally, locally, and nationally. The JUNTOS Art Association(based in El Paso, TX)works with museums, institutions, and other organizations to extend the impact of their work. Their mission statement is, “Juntos, means together. Our mission is to promote cultural awareness through the arts in order to enhance pride, understanding and recognition of our region and its diversity.”The Icons and Symbols of the Borderland exhibit conveys the artists’ border experience to the viewers. The artists are from New Mexico, Texas, Mexico, etc. The exhibit features a variety of mediaand technical approaches; oil paintings, wood carvings, photography, masks, etc.Their artwork is characterized by somber realism, playful juxtaposition, and spiritual innuendos. The exhibit is split into foursegmentsthat portray something different: Environment, La Frontera (The Border), Comida y Bebida (Foodways), and Sacred andProfane.Although each segment depictsshared interest in themes, each piece is unique and features the artist’s perspective on the theme.
The first segment is Environment, images that encourage storytelling and encourages empathy for the animal and plant life of the borders. Reminding the people that anthropocentric attitudes continue to endanger the lives of many species. Wopo Holup’s abstract piece of the Rio Grande, from where it begins in Colorado through the regions of New Mexico and down into the valley of Texas. This depicts the strong symbolism for life. Molina said, “Because without water there is no life,”The nextsegment,La Frontera, reflects topics through the course of the debate of immigration. Border life is represented by the people, the structures, the culture, languages, and varied norms. These things are what characterizes the connection between two nations. “Dale Dale Dale,” an oil on carved plywood piece created by Richard Armendariz represents the escalating violence on the borders. “Dale Dale Dale” is a song that children sing when they are hitting a piñata. The thirdsegmentis Comida y Bebida.That reflectsthe powerful symbols of food and drinks that are associated with people’s environment, culture, and traditions. These symbols are also tied to everyday life and celebration that occurs between the cultures tied by the borders. “Food Sings,” by Victoria Suescum depicts popular border foods referenced from brightly colored advertisements. These paintings connect her childhood in Panama with her adult life in Texas and the style blend between both cultures.The six paintings in this collection are: Paleta de Pina (Pineapple Popsicles), Agua de Melon (Melon Water), Cabrito(Goat), Agua de Mango (Mango Water), La Raspa (The Snow Cone), and Coctel de Fruta (Fruit Cocktail).Sacred and Profane,the final segment, represents the fusion of indigenous-Spanish heritage and Mexican-American border life. There are depictions of thedifferent ideals, emotions, philosophy, and values. This expresses and explores the different social and cultural values between the nations. For instance, JacobMunoz’s “Stereotype” digital art piece depicts
his own ancestry. The images focus on the stereotypes of Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, Asians, and Native Americans, and himself to show the power of words.This enticing exhibit is currently displayed at the Carlsbad Museum (418 W. Fox St.). Admission to exhibit is free and will be displayed for viewing May-September of 2021 with many online programs regarding this exhibit. Diana Molina, the curator of the exhibitsays that the Icons and Symbols of the Borderland is a traveling exhibit since2015 and this its first time in New Mexico. Molina says, “We are very excited to be in Southern New Mexico.” For more information on the calendar of events for this exhibit visit juntosart.org or cityofcarlsbadnm.com and select “Museum and Art center” under departments. The calendar and registration for virtual programs ishttp://www.juntosart.org/programs