On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the online art exhibition, “No Borders on Stolen Land,” launched. This exhibition was a collaborative project between Native Movement, Out North, Anchorage Democratic Socialists of America, and Sol de Medianoche, brought together by a shared desire to respond to the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Colonially imposed borders continue to disregard Indigenous communities and institutions that have operated for hundreds to thousands of years. Through art, we hope to stand in solidarity with all those who have migrated to new lands and bring attention to the continued deportations, family separations, and incarcerations. This exhibition was curated by UAA professor Mariano Gonzales. Gonzales comments on how the entitlement of “ownership” of land results in the domination, displacement, and decimation of people. Gonzales invites the audience to absorb the messages of the people and the land embedded in each piece of this exhibition.
Gonzales selected three Corazón award recipients to be highlighted in the exhibition.
Juana Duran Charicata, based in Chicago and a migrant child from Michoacán, Mexico, depicts the beauty and strength of migration with her piece, “Las Parakatas,” meaning “the butterflies” in the purépecha language. She incorporates the imagery of monarch butterflies to represent natural migration not bound by colonialist borders. Duran Charicata enjoys painting portraits of migrant workers in hopes that those in her community are empowered when they see themselves or someone they know in her works. She incorporates personal experiences and landscapes of Mexico to depict the nature of migration with love and beauty. Follow Juana Duran Charicata on Instagram @duran_sandart
Taji Joseph, based in Minneapolis, sharply depicts the border and divisions between the rich and poor, between the cared for and the neglected, with his mixed-media piece, “Redlining.” Joseph unconventionally combines a wide range of mediums, creatively repurposing anything from ornaments from thrift stores to stones and tree bark from nature. Through his pieces, he contrasts the beauty of nature with the ugliness of humans. Joseph hopes his art resonates emotionally with the audience and provokes difficult conversations about the themes embedded in his works including the concept of mortality and the plight of a Black man living in America. See more work by Taji Joseph at https://www.mnartists.org/tajijoseph
Alex Arriaga, a journalist and writer based in Chicago, vividly expresses the domination and destruction of the Earth with her piece, “Paradise.” Arriaga writes of the first love for and subsequent sadness and anger towards the land, like a marriage gone bad. Through her writings, Arriaga strives to create space for nonjudgmental understanding and for centering the experiences of the disempowered. Arriaga thinks of herself as a messenger and able to use her voice as a writer to connect the dots during a confusing and chaotic time. Follow Alex Arriaga on Twitter and Instagram at alexarriaga__