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A&E Blog

Fiery immigration exhibition at gallery stroll Friday night

by Stephen Dark
- Posted // 2011-01-06 - Art Access's exhibition "Driven from the state: an exhibit of art and ideas" promises to illuminate undocumented Mexican immigration to Utah in visceral, emotional terms arguably unlike anything seen in S.L.C before. 

One of the 12 artists exhibiting is 23 year-old Alex Ramos, who has several paintings and two installations on display. One is a series of 20 office storage boxes, set up in sets of 7 and one of 6, some of which feature reports from a coroners' office and medical examiner on the deaths of people trying to cross the border to the United States.

The second installation is more ambitious: Ramos' vision of the border itself. It's an 8 foot tall, 5 foot wide fence of corrugated metal, cinder blocks and pipes which allows you to "cross" from one side to the other. On the Mexican side are suitcases with clothes, photographs of Ramos' own family when they crossed the border when he was an infant. On the other side stand white crosses cemented into cinder blocks.

Ramos calls the installation 'The discipliner and the punisher,' borrowing a phrase from the philosopher Michel Foucault. "It represents the physical death, the political death and the cultural death of migrants," he says.

At 7 p.m. at Art Access, 230 South, 500 West in downtown Salt Lake City, to accompany the exhibition, writer Scott Carrier will read a piece about crossing the border, followed by Chad Nielson presenting a work contrasting the Mormon migration to Utah in 1847 with Mexican immigration to the United States. Finally Ramos's wife, Angela Bunker, will read her work on a young migrant's perspective as he crossed the border, taken from her husband's anecdotes.

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