Immigration has been a hotly debated issue in the 2016 presidential race, with Donald Trump, the most boisterous of the Republican candidates, saying he would build a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another leading GOP contender, has said he would deport undocumented immigrants.
But such talking points are simplifying the issue of immigration, says artist Israel Francisco Haros Lopez.
Lopez, 38, and 13 other artists will take on the issue and share their perspectives at a weeklong, immigration-themed exhibit hosted by the Santa Fe Art Institute.
The “pop-up” show, which opens at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the institute on the campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, will feature installations from local artists and artists in residence from Mexico and Canada.
Lopez, who is from East Los Angeles but recently moved to Santa Fe, will present a series of mixed-media paintings, drawings and poems titled Mexican Jazz. As part of his installation, he will feature codex coloring books containing drawings inspired by indigenous culture.
He said his art explores the complexity of the immigration issue and how it gets simplified, “especially in the age of Donald Trump.”
Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo, 37, an artist in residence from Canada, will create a sawdust carpet in the middle of the gallery on the first night of the exhibit. Created using layers of colored sawdust, such carpets are a popular tradition at Latin American festivals and ceremonies.
After he finishes the carpet, Castillo said, he will try to get people to walk across it and deface the installation — figuratively erasing the U.S.-Mexico border.
“By the end of the week, I hope it’ll be all messed up,” he said.
Castillo is from El Salvador originally, but his family fled the country during the Salvadoran civil war and headed north to Canada.
Many of his drawings are inspired by his family’s flight from El Salvador, he said. But because he is doing an art residency in a border state, he also wanted to create an installation that addresses U.S.-Mexico border issues.