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Border

Monday, 03 March 2014 11:03 Written by Blanca Gonzalez Rosas

 Blanca González Rosas, published in Proceso. 19-10-2011

With the support of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Mexican artist Marisa Boullosa undertook a project with an intriguing subject, interpretation and formal experimentation. Carried out between July 2010 and July 2011 under the title Wounded Border, this collection of 25 works addresses the ingenuity, pain, hope and fragility experienced by young migrants deported to Mexico after crossing the border.

Constantly exploring the expressive possibilities offered by traditional printing media, Boullosa has developed a vocabulary in which graphics and photography expand into two-dimensional hybrids, objects and installations. Creating a subtle style that transforms visual textures into emotive and evocative metaphors, the artist produces images that transcend time and space, using nostalgic poetry to fuse pain with beauty.

Recognized by the Migrant-Migrantes=USA (2003-2006) project, which compares the vulnerability of the Europeans who arrived in New York in the early 20th century with the aggressive reality experienced by Latin Americans entering through the region close to Houston, Texas, Boullosa's current proposal is remarkable both in concept and form.

Conceived as a group of metaphors that present and evoke the attitudes, beliefs and imposition of power related to migration, the Wounded Border project began with the artist’s direct experiences with 13- to 17-year-olds at a government deportee shelter in Nogales, Sonora. There, despair, fear and hopelessness take a physical form in the bodily wounds caused by trying to climb over barbed wire, feet lacerated from walking, sweaty rosaries, crucifixes, repatriation stamps and lists of confiscated objects. Photographed, photocopied and transformed into graphics and blueprints, morphing from two-dimensional to three-dimensional objects, the migrants’ traces become disturbing presences oscillating between drama, nostalgia, reality and fiction.

Wounded and stitched with red threads whose constant zigzagging line cuts into the symbolic imagery, the pieces reinterpret children’s clothes from popular celebrations and the numerous aprons associated with the identity and work of Mexican women in the United States.

Exhibited in fragments for a month during the Puebla de los Angeles Biennial, where it won first prize, and the extension of the Cervantes Festival to San Miguel Allende, the Wounded Border project deserves to be awarded a space in Mexico City.

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