EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Papel Latinx is an exhibition at the El Paso Museum of Art that celebrates Latinx artists and culture diversity.
“The artists in this exhibition also reflect on the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of Latin communities with deep roots in the U.S,” said Staphany Garnica, Art School coordinator at the El Paso Museum of Art.
One of the art pieces that stands in the center of the exhibition is a sculpture called “La Migra” from an Arizona-based artist Suzanne Klotz.
Klotz started working on the sculpture in 1997, inspired by an image she saw on the news.
“Inside were six immigrants and the coyote had just left them in the desert to die and I just thought it was the most horrendous thing I’ve ever seen,” said Klotz.
The pillar-like sculpture consists of several levels. Each level, from the bottom to the top, represents one point in the journey of people migrating across the U.S.-Mexico border.
From being smuggled by coyotes, to crossing the desert, “La Migra” shows the brutal reality of migration across the border that leaves many families lose loved ones on the journey.
Klotz’s sculpture is also dedicated to the lives lost through a replica of a graveyard that marks each cross with a family member.
She remembered a moment she received the first review of her sculpture, that she said, was unexpected.
While working on her art piece, she remembered a woman knocking on her door to sell tamales. The woman noticed her sculpture that was peeking through the window and shining a bright red light from the lamps that are a part of it.
Klotz invited the woman and the rest of the woman’s family to view the sculpture in her house.
“This is the best compliment I’ve ever had on a piece of art. They all got on their knees and prayed and cried. It meant something to them, it was their journey,” said Klotz.
The sculpture is made of many items from Mexico and items that signify Mexican culture, like images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, numerous bottle caps of soda drinks from Mexico and many others.
Klotz said she hopes that the audience will be able to read the many stories this sculpture has to tell.
“I hope that people can look at it and see the journey of other human beings and we all should have an opportunity, and we all are created equal women, men and all people,” she concluded.