Bridging the gap between separated sister cities that share one culture, “Arte de la Frontera” held its reception at Studio ONE: A Space for Art and Activism on Friday, Nov. 8.
Over 20 artists from both sides of the Nogales border participated in the exhibition under the Ambos Nogales Border Art Project, or ANBAP, to bring to light the events surrounding the U.S. and Mexico border.
Arturo Suarez, a general contractor from Tucson, said it was his first time ever attending an art show.
“I like things that have to do with culture, and this is my Hispanic culture, so I’m excited about it,” Suarez said. “[The show] gives you a deeper look into the way we live our lives. It is amazing, you wouldn’t want to miss it.”
Suarez is a friend of Paco Velez, the owner of Studio ONE. Velez created Studio ONE a decade ago as a creative space for the community in support of grassroots movements and local artists.
“Arte de la Frontera” is composed of photographs, sculptures, paintings, poems and more, giving it a well-rounded window into the subject through the minds of many artists. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with artwork of all different sizes, shapes and styles.
Louisa Wise, visiting from Melbourne, Australia, played her fiddle during the reception. An award-winning fiddler, she has played for 60 years and is a former performer with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
“This show is building a sense of community,” Wise said. “It is unique and something that you are not going to see anywhere else.”
Before Wise performed, there was a welcoming ceremony and a border-inspired puppet performance. As the puppeteer performed, gallery visitors poured into the space until there was standing room only.
Stefan Falke, a New York-based artist from Germany, also had photographs in the show from his project “LA FRONTERA: Artists along the U.S.-Mexican Border.” He has photographed over 200 artists living and working on both sides of the wall.
“I wanted to show a different, positive image of the border,” Falke said in an email, “one of lively culture and opportunities that most border and binational regions have in common.”
Born in Hermosillo, Mexico, Alejandra Platt-Torres had been taking photos since she was 6 years old, but she has been fully committed to being an artist since 1991. Her photography is featured in “Arte de la Frontera.”
“The role of the artist is to show people what is happening now,” Torres said. “To display the beauty and the horrors of the places we live and the borders we cross, the inner workings of our cultural language.”
Torres became a member of the ANBAP after meeting its founder, Ricardo Santos Hernández, at one of his Tucson exhibits.
Hernández started the project in honor of both, or “ambos,” Nogales in Sonora, Mexico, and the one in Arizona.
His goal was to bridge the gap between the two cities using art. He said that “Arte de la Frontera” does just that.
Hernández wrote in an email, “Visitors and guests to the exhibition can view artwork of a distinct voice that echoes the heartbeat of the borderlands with a twist of resistance and artistic innovation.”
The show will be open to the public for free until Dec. 7.
For more information on the event, please check out our last week's article here.
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