Women of Juarez

More than any other to date, the exhibition currently at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Rastros y Cronicas: Women of Juarez, typifies what we at TE are trying to showcase — Arts that explore relevant issues of the day.

Since 1994 with the approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement, American companies have crossed over to Mexico to build factories called maquiladoras and boarder cities like Juarez began to boom.  Young men and women moved from small towns in hopes of finding a better way of life.  In reality, what has happened is rapid, uncontrolled growth; shantytowns where women have been abducted and brutally murdered.  And few of these crimes have been solved.

This exhibition looks at the politics of NAFTA for sure, as in Cecillia Alvarez’s piece When the Opportunist is King Women are a Commodity where the rape and pillaging of poor women and resources benefit men in suits with blinders on, marching through the factory reaping the rewards.

Your Last Doll

Your Last Doll by Ester Hernandez

Marked, hija de Juárez, from artist Eva Soliz explores that natural reaction to something too difficult to comprehend and that is to just look away.  In here entry, Soliz has two chess-like figures, one of a queen headed down a path, her face is marked with a pink cross, the symbol used by the families of the abducted women.  In the foreground, a smaller male figure, a pawn, looks away and reinforce the idea of a community not making an effort to acknowledge these crimes.

But the majority of the works look at the loss of these mothers, daughters and sisters.  Numerous pieces look at the innocence of the ‘muejeres’, as young as six years old, who have been lost. Ester Hernandez’s installation Your Last Doll has an actual poster of one of the victims enlarged.

The words “Se Busca” or “Searching For” and a photo of the 14 year old before the abduction.  In the foreground a Plexiglas case holds a Quinceanera doll, representing the last doll a girl is to receive before she becomes a woman, bringing home that many of these victims are young girls.

Recently Juarez has been in the news for its drug cartels and drug related violence.  But these murders are still happening and will continue until more people turn and face this problem head on.

You can see these works as part of the exhibition Rastros y Cromcas: Women of Juarez, at the National Museum of Mexican Art now extended through July 4, 2010.

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