The show speaks to the story of the border from both sides, as told by artists, architects, and designers who have made the border a concern in their work, both directly and indirectly.
Visitors to CAFAM are greeted by a scaled-down version of Armando Muñoz García’s Tijuana III Millennium—better known as La Mona or “the doll”—the woman who looms over Tijuana, built by the self-taught sculptor for the 1989 centennial of Tijuana.
Behind the sculpture are cases filled with conceptual jewelry, like Haydeé Alonso’s Ni Una Más, a rubber neckpiece that is meant to feel suffocating, a reference to the maquiladora factory girls caught in the violence of Juárez—sometimes found sexually assaulted and strangled. (Maquiladora are the U.S.-owned, Mexican factories that exploit lower wages in the country, as well as the free trade agreement NAFTA.)
On the second floor, hanging from the ceiling, two pairs of pants feature the words “MIGRA” and “NO ICE” affixed to the waist areas. These are the work of Hector Dionicio Mendoza, an artist who immigrated to America in the early 1980s at the height of punk music, and the pants look very much like artifacts of East L.A. Chicano punk history.
The words refer to the raids from immigration officers that Mendoza’s family experienced in 1999 when living in the Salinas Valley of Central California, and are meant to function as armor against social injustice and labor abuse.