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ART (Above): An Invocation of Indigenous Joy by Rodrigo Esteva (Nuu Savi/Mexico) and Mirah Moriarty (Irish/ Slovak traveler)

 

 

THE WALL BETWEEN US: Re-imagining Borders (2023-present) 

Conception: Rodrigo Esteva and Mirah Moriarty

DANCE MONKS invites people worldwide to join us every year on January 28 at 7:30am CST to re-imagine borders and plant seeds of possibility.  


The event's timing is in memory of Carmelita Torres who, on January 28, 1917, at only 17 years old led a demonstration in refusal to be deloused with chemicals before crossing the border to work from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso, Texas. This routine and dehumanizing  practice when crossing the border began for Mexicans in 1917 and did not end until 1964.  (See links below for more on this rarely told history.) Carmelita laid down with thousands of others on the international bridge separating the US and Mexico (at that time) stopping the traffic for two days.  During the demonstration, Carmelita disappeared and was never found again. This project brings attention to the painful division that is embedded at borders towards a reimagined future.  It is also in solidarity with the 50 women who braided their hair together in unity along the US-Mexico Border in 2017 in response to US family separation policies.   

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PUBLIC CALL FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY ART

THE WALL BETWEEN US: Re-imagining Borders Score

1. Breathe. Center yourself. Light a candle.

2. Find an image of the international border nearest you. Make art in response to the question: What you would like to see happen at the border in service of intercultural healing and/or exchange?  Consider a child's perspective as you make a collage, painting, dance, event, or poetry in service of future generations.

3. Send your artwork, name, and a short bio of who you are to us at dancemonks@dancemonks.com 
 
We will choose art as part of an international online gallery.

Photo (above): 50 women from Texas and Mexico gathered at the international pedestrian bridge that connects El Paso and Juarez. By braiding their hair together, they made a statement that the fates of the United States and Mexico are inextricably linked.  Women of the Boundless Across Borders organization braided their hair during a binational protest called Braiding Borders on Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo: Jose Luis Gonzalez)

The Wall Between US  was first conceived as El Otro Lado: The Other Side/of the border in 2005 and commissioned by the Summer Language Institute of Middlebury College.  The love duet between Mirah (b. in the United States) and Rodrigo Esteva (b. in Mexico) was performed to recordings from a series of interviews (in Spanish and English) with people living on the Mexican side of the border and their vision of "the other side," a common phrase used to describe the US as a distant place. The interviews included firsthand memories of racial prejudice, childhood imaginings, and stories.   
 
DANCE MONKS reconstructed the duet in 2017 in the context of Trump-era xenophobic politics for D.I.R.T Fest in San Francisco.  The latter brought cross-cultural love to the forefront in response to the ongoing racism in immigration politics that has impacted their family as well as grandparents, parents, and children for generations. The sound of the performance was a collection of stories of families living on either side of the US/Mexico border

ARTISTS WHO TRANSFORM WHAT IS POSSIBLE AT THE US/MEXICO BORDER:
 
PEDRO REYES: PALAS POR PISTOLAS
Mexican Artist, Pedro Reyes, collected 1,527 guns which were melted down to create shovels that, in turn, were used to plant trees in urban areas affected by violence
http://urbanoproject.org/palas-por-pistolasshovels-for-guns

BRAIDING SOLIDARITY PROJECT:
Women from both sides of the US/Mexican border braided their hair in unity and solidarity
https://remezcla.com/culture/us-mexico-border-braid-solidarity/
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJECRD-b_DU&t=25s

ANA TERESA FERNANDEZ: BORRANDO LA FRONTERA/ ERASING THE BORDER
Mexican Artist, Ana Teresa Fernandez, painted the US/Mexican border sky blue in an effort to symbolically erase the border

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2016/04/erasing-the-border/477891/

TEETER TOTTER WALL:
Ronald Rael, a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San José State University built Teeter Totters at the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez border in an effort to build bridges
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/jan/19/pink-seesaws-across-us-mexico-border-named-design-of-the-year-2020

RELATED RESEARCH AND HISTORY:

LOVE HAS NO BORDER: GETTING MARRIED AT THE US/MEXICO BORDER'S DOOR OF HOPE
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-42043063

US BORDER FAMILY SEPARATION POLICIES:
https://www.splcenter.org/news/2022/03/23/family-separation-timeline

THE BATH RIOTS HISTORY:
https://www.npr.org/2006/01/28/5176177/the-bath-riots-indignity-along-the-mexican-border

CANTINFLAS CRUZANDO LA FRONTERA:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOb4JxMIeQM
 

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