¡Feliz viernes a todos!
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday break. Thank you for joining me again. This semester we are kicking off with a focus on activism. You may notice that many of our upcoming posts connect and highlight important activists in Latin America, the organizations they belong to, or the programs they founded. In honor of the focus on activism, I am highlighting some of Ana Teresa Fernández’s recent work on “erasing” the U.S.-Mexico border—using art!
Ana Teresa Fernández is a Mexican-American artist. She and a group of thirty volunteers teamed up to paint the border fence in Nogales, Sonora a light blue color in order to blend it with the sky. In her video about the project, Fernández talked about the fence as a “symbol of hate and pain.” She thought to change that by making it invisible (at least a piece of it). Her work constitutes activism “because it re-contextualizes a possibility. It makes you not see the border — just for a split second — and [makes you see] how two countries can exist, or coexist, peacefully,” said Fernández in an interview with Raquel Reichard from Latina. To her, the problem of the border fence is that it divides two groups of people who could otherwise live in harmony. The idea, while earning support from many people, sparked hate in some who have taken to writing hate mail and nasty correspondence to the artist.
This work is important and noteworthy in showing that art can be powerful in activism. Her message is clear and her work has helped to illuminate the darkness many people feel when they see the fence. In the classroom, this could be a great reminder that art is important, that a lot can be said and expressed without words, and that there are ways to get involved in voicing concerns without disturbing the peace. This could be a motivator for students to talk about problems they see in the world, potential solutions, and how they could act in order to help those solutions come to light.
Stay tuned for more about activism in the coming weeks!
With warmest wishes,
Image: Photo of the “Erased” Border. Reprinted from the website of Ana Teresa Fernández under CC ©.
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