It was 1996, and while she was in Mexico making decisions, I was confused and lost, realizing that I needed to make some decisions as well, but unable to do so. I had made some photographs along the U.S – Mexico border, but wasn’t sure what to make of them. Why was I drawn to this place, and why was the magnetic pull so strong for me to want to give up on the life that I had created with someone? Photography became a reason to give up and an excuse of a desire to pursue something else, something unknown.
Taxi amigo? Do you want to see the young girls? What do you want? What do you need? We don’t like you here, but do we have a choice. Haven’t we given enough already; from Texas to California; from the cheap sweat of our brown hands – televisions and designer clothes – for your Walmarts. Hecho en Mexico / Made in Mexico with the pride and the spirit of the Virgen? What do you want now? What do you need now?
I heard these words once I walked across the border from El Paso and into Ciudad Juárez with a duffle bag of clothes, a camera and an FM-3 Visa from the Government of Mexico that would allow me to live for a year. But what was it I wanted when I crossed? What was it I needed? To open my eyes and my heart, finally, to see and accept who I was. I needed to go to a place where I knew no one and no one knew me.
It was existential to journey where others had gone before me, in search of my own transformation and sense of destiny. But unlike them, I went South. It must be there on the border in Mexico as so many have traveled from afar to go there in search of it – a resurrection of the spirit and a renewal of self.
With the support of a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Fellowship in 1997 and drawing inspiration from the pulp comic of the same name, Tierra Brava traverses a personal psychological space within the color of a place mired in contradictions; the U.S. – Mexico border. It is a place that is in a constant search for its own sense of identity, juggling the traditions of culture and history of the interior with the pleasures and promises of prosperity and a better life of its northern neighbor. It is not Mexico and not the United States, but rather something and somewhere in-between.
Tierra Brava Installations
2014 Regis University, Denver, Colorado
2013 University of Texas at Brownsville, Brownsville, Texas
2000 University of San Diego, San Diego, California
1998 Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT), Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico
1998 University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas
1998 Museo de Arte El Chamizal, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Gracias San Lorenzo