Victor De La Rosa, We’re All Mexican, 2020
Immigration is the direct topic, but the crux of the matter is foundational elements of the United States of America: a country composed of non-native migration and colonization, declared equality of the individual, and freedom. It is a question of citizenship.
The most recent U.S. xenophobic drumbeat started at Donald J Trump’s presidential candidate announcement. After, I noticed the volume and frequency of attacks on Mexican people in particular. Mexican were the latest immigration boogeyman. I realized that this attack could be interchangeable with any group or person. If it is happening to them it could happen to you. They are us; we are them.
I wanted this piece to be a surrogate for the country of Mexico. The piece was woven using the regional technique of backstrap weaving taught to me by an indigenous Zapoteca. The main materials are manufactured in Mexico: rope made from henequen fiber grown in the Yucatan and colorful twine used for netting hammocks. Techniques and materials that preexisted today’s borders and boundaries – in the 19th century henequen was shipped to New England where it was wound into most of the rope used in the U.S. at that time.
One goal for this work is to have the viewer reflect on their own immigration experience – except for indigenous North American peoples – we all have one. The rhetoric and hostility that is being heaped onto Mexicans can or has been targeted towards you. I hope that viewers will find their own way to relate to this piece and perhaps it will foster context and empathy.