Social (In)Justice at the US-Mexico Border: The Art of Resistance Workshop

A colorful mural features landscapes overlapped with butterflies, the statue of liberty, and a man in a hat.
Cimi Alvarado’s Las Americas (mural detail), photo by Diana Barnes

Join us Saturday, October 14, at 11 am, for The Art of Resistance Workshop, a program of the Social (In)Justice at the US-Mexico Border series. Artists Álvaro Enciso, Gabriela Galup, and Cimi Alvarado invite Skidmore students, staff, faculty, and community members to workshop and produce their own “art of resistance” through mural designing and painting, woodworking, and textile designs.

Registration is required and available via Google form. This event is free and open to the public.

Join the artists the evening prior, Friday, October 13, at 5:30 pm, for a talk and performance followed by a reception.

About Social (In)Justice at the US-Mexico Border

Social (In)Justice at the US-Mexico Border is a month-long series of events that seeks to bring attention to issues of social justice, and injustice, at the US-Mexico border. This series coincides with the 2023 National Hispanic Heritage Month, highlighting the intricate connections between this liminal space and US Latinx identities, histories, and experiences. Moreover, through the various events that will take place, attendees will recognize that “border issues” are not matters that concern only those at the border; we all play a role deliberately or unintentionally, in the consequences of border-crossing. The series of events includes a variety of perspectives and engagement opportunities for Skidmore’s community and beyond. From conversations with activists at the front lines to lectures by specialists, performances by stakeholders, and workshops with artists, our goal is to present both the complexity of the issues and the multiple and diverse possibilities to address them. This series speaks directly to the “Communities in Conflict” area of focus of Skidmore’s Racial Justice Initiative.

Social (In)Justice at the US-Mexico Border is organized by Diana Barnes, Senior Teaching Professor of Spanish; the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies Program (LACLS), and Oscar Pérez Hernández, Associate Professor of Spanish and the Director of the Latin American Studies Program.

About the Artists

Álvaro Enciso is a Colombian-born artist and border activist living in Tucson, Arizona. He honors migrants who die in the Sonora desert in Arizona through his multi-media art project “donde mueren los sueños” (where dreams die). With a team of volunteers, Enciso treks weekly to the places where migrants’ remains were found and remembers them with his painted, wooden crosses. To date, Enciso estimates that he has placed 1,200 crosses. Enciso has been recognized internationally for his work and was featured in a 2019 episode of Democracy Now.

Gabriela Galup is a Peruvian-born artist living in Tucson, Arizona. Galup created MakiMaki theater in 2009, which “uses hands and imagination to create characters, stories, and dreams about different themes of personal development and social interaction.” With textiles and puppetry, Galup reveals the isolation, rejection, and marginality that millions of displaced border-crossers face globally in this era of mass displacement.

Jesus “Cimi” Alvarado began his artistic career as a graffiti artist in El Paso, Texas, where his footprint can be found throughout the city’s historic Segundo Barrio and beyond. His work is entirely rooted to the community he’s working in at a particular time, and his process usually includes elements of community brainstorming and participation within the creation of each public work. In the same vein as Chicano muralists who have come before him—like his former teacher at Bowie High School, Gaspar Enriquez—his art is truly public, honoring the everyday Chicanx population that strengthens border culture in El Paso. The power of both contemporary and historic Chicanx figures is the driving force behind much Cimi’s work.

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