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The Border Project: A History on the Divide

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To help celebrate Arizona’s 100th birthday, the University of Arizona Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit that explores the historical, cultural and political lifestyles connected to the U.S.-Mexican border.

It’s called “The Border Project: Soundscapes, Landscapes, and Lifescapes.” It features contemporary visual and audio art from the most prominent border artists.

Art curator Lauren Rabb said she started planning the exhibit two years ago when Ph.D. student John-Michael Warner asked her to help conduct border-related research. She says this research then helped form the exhibit.

RABB: “When we first looked at what the concept of what the border meant, we realized that you can take the concept and the relevance of the border and you can expand it in about a hundred different directions. You could talk about psychological borders. You could talk about territorial borders that were not delineated on a map. You could talk about so many borders. I mean the average everyday borders people encounter.”

Yet Rabb says she found that to be “too ambitious” was causing them to focus solely on the basic concept of living along Arizona and Sonora.

Critics say that this approach led to an uneven collection in both history and culture. However, Rabb disagrees.

RABB: “We tried to give voice to some of the other cultural experiences that go on here. We talk about Chinese History. We talk about Civil War History. We even talk a little bit about Japanese History. I think we tried to cover just about every aspect that you could think about, especially when you are talking about Mexico versus the United States. I think we've done an excellent job of talking about, you know, all the various ways that you could approach it.”

She says some aspects include the conflicts of being Mexican-American today, as well as what it “really means” to live in a state directly connected to another country.

“The Border Project” will be open until March 11.

Written by Melissa Guz You are reading The Border Project: A History on the Divide articles

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