Mixed media, installation, 2009
 

Built around the theme of immigration, semiotics, and faith.
Migrants are caught in perpetual limbo, geographically and politically between here and there, between departure and arrival. Physically they remain perched between frailty and health, danger and safety.

Each piece of the composed tableau serves to function simultaneously as a decorative object, and as an allusory object. In this manner a linkage is established between the physical space and the spiritual or emotional landscape.

Assembled objects  comprised of a taxidermied coyote, prayer shrine, plastic statue of Santo Toribio Romo, and barbed wire type.




 
Coyote is a slang term for professional human smugglers.
Female migrants in particular, suffer danger of sexual exploitation, and violence at the hand of coyotes who may decide to abuse, “sell” or enslave their clients.
In cultural mythologies from Navajo, and Paiute to Aztec and beyond; the coyote appears as a trickster. The coyote is simultaneously the den mother, giving and protective, and the predatory nuisance that is freely hunted by farmers fearing loss of income from meddlesome incursions.
Bandaged limbs are commonly depicted in many ex-votos. Dressed wounds delineate a transitional state in which the condition of the physical body mimics the condition of physical displacement.

The prayer box holds a photo of Santo Toribio Romo, below him is a waterproof laminate card bearing the intercession prayer for migrants. Perched outside the frame, a playing card bearing a relief of Our Lady of Guadalupe sits against a small candle. There is a Loteria (Traditional Mexican bingo style game) card for “Corazon” above which, a hand set inscription bears the traditional bingo callers rhyme:

“No me extrañes corazon” (Lit. Dont be foreign heart)... and continues along the bottom of the frame: Regreso en el camión” (I’ll be back in a truck).

This is intended to reference the departure, hope, and longing associated with the process of border incursion.
It is also a euphemism for the cultural cliché that migrant workers, and mexican families are often ferried about en mass in the back of an open truck bed. Loteria or Lottery is also the name attributed to those seeking legal immigration through a procees of random selection for case review.


The patron saint for migrants is Santo Toribio Romo, whose repetory includes intercession prayers for those incarcerated, deported, or currently attempting to cross a border. Rememberance of him and invocation of prayer is believed to help bring safe passage, or care to those on a journey.
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