Border Art Workshop

The Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo’s project, ESL: tonguetied/lenguatrabada, dealt with the subject of cultural identity and the difficulties encountered in learning a language other than one’s mother tongue. The project specifically referenced the impact of the recently adapted Proposition 187, a 1994 California ballot initiative designed to limit social services, health care, and public education for undocumented workers. At the same time, the project provided a space for responding to the implications of differentiating between “legal” and “illegal” immigrants. The installation consisted of a mock classroom with written questions on all surfaces and blackboard walls where viewers were invited to express their thoughts on the issues.

Curator: Louise Kirtland Boehm
Organizer: Boehm Gallery, Palomar College
Venue: Boehm Gallery, Palomar College, San Marcos

The context of the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo’s (BAW/TAF) project with the Poblado Maclovio Rojas was the community’s ten-year struggle against the reluctance of Mexico’s state and federal officials to negotiate a fair deal with the more than 1,300 families who had been occupying 197 hectares (about 600 acres). This real estate, located in the southeastern sector of Tijuana, was coveted by industrial and commercial developers seeking to expand their ventures in Mexico, by taking advantage of cheap wages and a nonrestrictive government policy in labor management issues. Samsung City and Hyundai Boulevard were lurking just beyond the beautiful and arid rolling hills of the Maclovio’s serene and dusty streets. The community was founded in 1987 by a group of forty-five women and continues to be run by women’s organizations within the Maclovio.

BAW/TAF started this collaboration with the Poblado Maclovio Rojas in February 1996. The community programs consisted of ongoing visual art and literary workshops; the construction of the community’s cultural and performing center (Centro Comunitario Aguascalientes-Zapata Vive); the installation of several roadside portable commercial modules; and the visual enhancement of El Centro Social de la Mujer, the children’s playground and sports area.

Curators: Jessica Bradley, Olivier Debroise, Ivo Mesquita, and Sally Yard
Venue: Poblado Maclovio Rojas