polo shoes Exhibit depicts hybrid identities
Monday through Thursday; through Dec.
The first floor of the STC Library features collaborative works by Evans and Hernandez. Their fabric inspired, large scenic landscape works reveal border scenarios.
Hernandez utilized fabric and clothing from local ropa usada stores to also create dolls, her muecas de trapo, of Mexican and Central American descent. These occasional small figures represent the undocumented work force crossing the border to work as maids, gardeners, pickers, etc. Embroidered and printed fabrics produce imaginative landscapes boasting lyrical details. Into these, Evans embedded photographic images that reveal individual places and lives.
“Caminos Dividos. Urbano/Rural divided roads. Urban/Rural” shows some of Evans’ photographic inclusions. Photographic images and Xerox transfers on the fabric depict people leaving the Mexican countryside for a better life in the seemingly joyful cities in the distance. Her photographic images create a counterpoint throughout this series to the embroidered landscape flourishes.
Upstairs, the Rainbow Room displays culture blending brought brilliantly into practical focus by Evans and Hernandez.
Crossover individuals are imagined through a series of 12 witty and imaginative shirts, symbolizing partially assimilated people who have made it across the border; the shirts represent their dual cultural identities. The shirt, “Cemex,” reveals the layered identity of a Central American woman who traveled north and found work with Cemex, a Mexican company with offices in the Rio Grande Valley. Cemex logos and uniform parts are stitched onto a Mexican blouse, which is in turn hangs over a traditional Central American Mayan huipil, or a tunic, to form a single garment.
With his forceful large format photographs presented as diptychs, Freeman moves us away from the more general cultural effects of immigration and into the sub culture of Mexico’s narco violence. Informed by the drug culture, Freeman created trophies for Mexican outlaws out of recycled materials, skillfully giving them an opulent surface, then posing them as subjects for his masterfully conceived photographs. The trophies reign among extravagant faux floral arrangements, reflecting sumptuous decadence.
His trophies express the concept of the heroically skewed anti award, glorifying situations that plague the border and include cartel violence, drug runners, illegal immigrants and coyotes.
“The trophy is a symbol of dedication and hard work in achieving a goal in life,” Freeman said, “and in Mexico today, the cartel are the victors, not the police or the citizens.”
Through insightful artistry, Evans, Hernandez and Freeman have used conceptual and physical layering to create a remarkable story of our region. Nothing to Declare but the clothes on our backs is witty, heartfelt and sometimes unnerving. This is a must see.