WOTY 2.3: Ojalá

Hunter East Harlem Gallery
2180 3rd Avenue
New York, NY

May 17 – June 30

Ojalá is a project by Mexican-American artists Mauricio Cortes Ortega and Maria de Los Angeles. Both artists immigrated to the United States in their early childhood and make work that deals with identity and migration. Under the current Presidency, migrants from Mexico have been singled out and targeted through verbal and legal attacks. Roughly 700,000 young immigrants have been fighting to maintain their status Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act. The lives of this generation of citizens has been threatened recently as the current administration has fought to end DACA, resulting in deporting thousands of young people to countries where they may or may not have family, friends, or be able to continue their careers. Further, a new wall along the Mexico-United States border has been proposed as way to keep out future generations of immigrants. The wall acts as a visual manifestation of xenophobia and acts as a personification of separation.

Ojalá, which roughly translates to “hopefully” is a project that imagines the wall as a liminal space. The drawings of de Los Angeles portray migration, figures striving for a better future and hope for humanity. Cortes Ortega’s ceramic sculptures reference capirotes, a Spanish headdress dating back to the Inquisition, which in their reinterpretation reference the inevitable transformation of objects due to colonialism and immigration. The sculptures set against de Los Angeles’ drawings suggest a dialogue between the origins of contemporary issues surrounding immigration and the current ramifications of negotiating the U.S. Mexico border.


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