Curated by Maria de Los Angeles and Susan Noyes Platt, the group show “Internalized Borders” at John Jay College of Criminal Justice examines the various ways in which language and legal systems create internal and external borders. It addresses urgent issues of immigration, detention, and deportation; especially focusing on how these issues are related to fear, criminalization of identity, economics of migration, and perception of otherness.
The eighteen featured artists reflect in diverse media on – what is a border? Border can be a wall between territories restricting people from moving freely across it, a social construct articulated through language and belief systems, a psychological state, or a checkpoint for the legal system to determine who is accepted and who is not. Humans define themselves in the context of groups framed by these borders. As borders are internalized, they modify who we are with categories such as race, gender, religion, ethnicity, and language, manifested often as racism, sexism, and classism.
While borders are real, they are also permeable—social constructs that require constant re-examination. On the one hand, they subjugate cultural identity and exaggerate our differences, and on the other hand, they can also cultivate transient cultures and the sharing of disparate ideas.
Paticia Cazorla and Nancy Saleme (Venezuelan born aunt and niece duo) created a slated fence and painted its surface with images of migrant laborers, a tribute to immigrant farm workers throughout the country.
Francisco Donoso in his installation “Between Passages” mixes the vocabulary of cartography with an abstract terrain to question the arbitrariness of borders, the search for a sense of place, and the psychological displacement experienced by migrants.
Alva Mooses in her installation “Moving Earth/ Moviendo Tierra“ examines the legal process of relocating landscape, transporting a singular Adobe brick from Northern Mexico to the States.
Joiri Minaya’s video “Siboney” investigates ways of hacking the dominant narrative projected onto us through an embodiment of projection, creating a hyper awareness of our assumptions.
Edel Rodriguez’s drawing of a drowned hand entangled with a red line creates a strong visual statement about violence against people of color.
Cuban immigrant Tatiana Garmendia’s video Border Crossing the artist lies partially nude and face up, with eyes staring upwards. The motionless body i s spotlighted from above as though a surveillance airplane has found her. Garmendia’s animation The Unraveling functions as both a prose poem and a visual journey that tells of her parents’ experiences after the Revolution in Cuba and their migration Journey.
Deborah Faye Lawrence’s collage “Game of the Occupied States (Buy and Sell from Coast to Coast)“ provides a chilling image of a police state with surveillance towers punctuating a border fence around the whole country.
Ricardo Gomez’s Labyrinth with Wall (Map) uses the tippy labyrinth game overlaid with a map of the Americas and a symbolic representation of the border wall running along the US-Mexico.
Felipe Baeza, “Untitled (so much darkness, so much brownness)”, 2016, transforms the map of the United States of America through a somber earthy palette embedding in it a brown figure reminding us of the erasures of native cultures.
Mauricio Cortes Ortega’s painting “Tio Ghillie” is a portrait painting of a Ghillie Suit (type of camouflage clothing designed to resemble the background environment such as foliage, snow or sand) that suggests that the landscape is greater than any singular force, and to question what can be seen versus not, who is there and isn’t.
Shahrzad Changalvaee from Tehran in her installations “As Long as it Casts #25”, “We Thought it is Obvious #1”, and “We Thought it Obvious #2“, 2018 explore materiality, displacement, language, making, and hope.
Maria de Los Angeles’s wearable sculptures and installation of drawings bring for the individual focus on the undocumented citizen, the psychological impact of migration, bi-culturalism, and the ethical questions surrounding undocumented migration. Her imagery is a composite of current events, memories, imagination, myth, and biography.
Internalized Borders features works by:
Felipe Baeza, Ricardo Gomez, Dina Bursztyn, Ryan Bonilla, Maria de Los Angeles, Alva Mooses, Mauricio Cortes Ortega, Constanza Alarcon Tennen, Francisco Donoso, Shahrzad Changalvaee, Edel Rodriguez, Tatiana Garmendia, Deborah Faye Lawrence, Joiri Minaya, Jodie Lyn-kee-Chow, and Patricia Cazorla & Nancy Saleme.
Curated by Maria de Los Angeles and Susan Noyes Platt
Internalized Borders at President’s Gallery, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 899 Tenth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10019
from February 14th through April 13th, 2018
Opening Reception on February 14th, 2018 with performance art and music 5:30 – 8PM
Gallery Hours: 9- 5 PM, M – F