Photographs by Maria Teresa Fernandez Cerca de la Cerca
- in this e-mail:
(1) Photographs by Maria Teresa Fernandez Cerca de la Cerca
(2) 'Conscientious Projector: Photographs by Maria Teresa Fernandez'
(3) Petition Against Border Wall
(4) Union panel calls attention to immigration raids
(5) Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection Program visits detention sites in Texas
Photographs by Maria Teresa Fernandez Cerca de la Cerca
May 8 – June 12
Sustainable World will host a reception for Maria Teresa on May 8, 6-7 p.m. (before the screening of the documentary)
Exhibition of color photographs of the fence at the United States and Mexico border, produced by Mexican photographer Maria Theresa Fernandez. This exhibition is in conjunction with a film screening of Crossing Arizona, presented by Conscientious Projector. On view in the Pasadena Art Alliance Gallery
'Conscientious Projector: Photographs by Maria Teresa Fernandez'The Armory Center for the Arts at Pasadena exhibition focuses on the U.S.-Mexico border fence.In an upstairs hallway at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, a small show of photographs by Maria Teresa Fernandez focuses on the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border that begins a couple of hundred feet out in the Pacific and ends about 60 miles inland, near El Centro, Calif.
That's a lot of territory to cover, and rather than documenting all parts equally or presenting a historical overview of the politically charged barrier, Fernandez zeros in on details: little incidents that might seem insignificant but that accumulate to form a knot of narratives by turns tragic, defiant and touching. Of the 84 color prints that make up the accessible exhibition, all but eight are close-ups -- tightly framed pictures that bring visitors nose to nose with the fence and arm's length from the often poignant mementos left beside it by people whose lives it has affected.
None of Fernandez's photographs are titled, dated or labeled. Four short wall texts provide a bit of background, leaving the snapshot-style pictures, arranged in six loose groups, free to tell their stories. Fernandez is not a sociologist or an activist but a poet, an artist whose goal is to capture various facets of the human drama that unfolds at the fence.
It all begins innocently enough, with nearly abstract shots of the fence's piecemeal patchwork of recycled materials and painted-over portions, which form accidental compositions. Algae, barnacles and rust create a wide range of surface textures. In several images, the crumbling metal, worn thin and turned orange by the salty air and water, contrasts dramatically with the cloudless blue sky it reveals through jagged holes.
The next cluster of pictures is the largest and most forlorn. In it, the Mexico-born, San Diego-based artist documents some of the many memorials that have shown up along the fence's south side.
Some are humble: ad hoc, on-the-run gestures to lost and fallen love ones, such as a pair of old boots hung from the fence or a simple cross marked with a man's name or, more often, "no identificado."
Others are elaborate, resembling altars or shrines festooned with votive candles and overflowing with offerings of fruit and flowers as well as personal treasures. Bold graphics and figurative images -- including piles of skulls, fleeing people and dazzling landscapes -- are painted on the fence as mural-style backdrops. A few, made by anonymous artists armed with spray paint and brushes, turn the surface into a ground for illusionistic paintings of doorways to an Edenic land of freedom and plenty.
The third group of images depicts the remnants of large, well-organized protests: coffin-shaped boxes, hundreds of water bottles, and billboard-style messages decrying the social injustice and economic inequity represented by the fence.
The fourth group of photos turns away from such unofficial, DIY additions to the fence to portray its authoritarian features. Sun-bleached images of steel and concrete reinforcements, military-style border patrols, construction and repair crews, towering light posts and surveillance cameras show a Godforsaken, Orwellian landscape.
The last two groups of pictures return to the heart of Fernandez's project: the anonymous men, women and children whose lives are divided by the fence. One group shows close-ups of hands -- pressed against the fence or clinging to its chain-link sections. They are among the only works that seem posed, and they come off as greeting-card clichés.
In contrast, the last group is haunting. It depicts couples, families and friends gathered on both sides of the fence as if they were all on the front porch or around a picnic table, casually chatting on a weekend afternoon. Many bring folding chairs, coolers and portable stereos and try to pretend that the steel pilings of a 12-foot-tall fence don't separate them. Fernandez captures the absurdity of the situation and the adaptability of the people, giving heart-wrenching form to both, especially in her images of lovers who drape sheets over themselves -- and through the fence -- for a little privacy.
Fernandez's eight panoramic photographs, which reveal the vastness of the fence as it snakes across the land, amplify the absurdity of it all. They provide just enough big-picture context to make the up-close and intimate pictures all the more potent.
'Conscientious Projector: Photographs by Maria Teresa Fernandez'
The Armory Center for the Arts at Pasadena exhibition focuses on the U.S.-Mexico
By David Pagel
Special to The Times
May 30 2008
In an upstairs hallway at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, a small
show of photographs by Maria Teresa Fernandez focuses on the fence along the
U.S.-Mexico border that begins a couple of hundred feet out in the Pacific and
ends about 60 miles inland, near El Centro, Calif.
The complete article can be viewed at:
Visit latimes.com at http://www.latimes.com
Petition Against Border Wall
Thousands of border residents have signed a petition against the construction of a border wall:
Thousands of El Paso/Southern New Mexico Sign Petition Against Border Wall
Signatures will be Displayed this Monday June 2nd at a Press Conference at the San Jacinto Plaza (Lagartos) at 12 Noon
Friday, May 30, 2008. During the last two weeks thousands of residents of our border region (El Paso County and Southern New Mexico) have been signing a community petition circulated by BNHR “to call upon the current administration to cease the construction of the Border Wall”, to support our local government efforts, city and county, on this issue and to call for a comprehensive solution.
The signature-collecting process will wrap up this weekend, and on Monday morning the completed petition will be presented to the El Paso County Commissioners Court, to DHS (local Border Patrol Headquarter), and to state and federal elected officials. On Tuesday, the petition will be also presented to the El Paso City Council.
This coming Monday June 2nd, at 12 Noon the thousands of signatures will be presented and displayed during a Press Conference at the San Jacinto Plaza.
The Border Network for Human Rights, along with many, members of our border community, believe this is an exercise of a long overdue community consultation process on the issues of the Border Wall and current enforcement strategies implemented in the southwest border.
Fernando Garcia, Executive Director
Border Network for Human Rights
1101 E. Yandell
El Paso, TX 79901
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Union panel calls attention to immigration raids
By MARY LOU PICKEL
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/29/08
A panel meets this morning in Atlanta to call attention to civil rights
violations during immigration raids.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union organized a
commission to talk about issues like U.S. citizens mistaken for immigrants, the
cost to taxpayers of the raids and the extent to which raids curb illegal
Teenager Justeen Mancha, who was born in Texas and lived in Reidsville, will
testify. She was home alone getting ready for school when she heard several men
enter her mobile home in September 2006.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conducted raids house to house in
three Georgia counties, searching for illegal immigrants who used false
documents and worked at the nearby Crider poultry plant in Stillmore.
Mancha's mother, Maria Christina Martinez, was born in Florida and used to work
at the Crider poultry plant. Martinez said the agents entered without a warrant
and she filed a civil rights lawsuit against the federal government through the
Southern Poverty Law Center because she doesn't want anybody else to go through
The commission meeting today is made up of labor leaders, politicians,
academics, and civil rights organizations. It has held hearings in Washington,
D.C., Boston and Des Moines on raids at meat-packing and poultry plants.
In Georgia, the commission will look at the Sept. 2006 raid of the Crider
poultry plant, where about 125 workers were arrested; and the April 2008
multi-state raid of Pilgrim's Pride poultry plants, where more than 100 workers
were arrested in Chattanooga.
A May 12 raid in Postville, Iowa at a kosher meat plant detained about 390
workers. This time, about 270 workers were sentenced to jail for using false
documents. In past raids, illegal workers have usually been charged only with
civil immigration violations and deported.
Copyright© 2008 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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