Borderland Collective: Northern Triangle

Borderland Collective: Northern Triangle

August 26–December 22, 2016

Organized by Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio, TX
With local curatorial oversight by Amy L. Powell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

In 2014, more than 68,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended on the U.S./Mexico border, double the number from the previous year. Of this group, the majority are from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Known as the Northern Triangle, this region has a long and complicated relationship with the United States. Civil wars in the 1980s, deportation policies, the drug war, border issues, trade agreements, unjust economic structures, political corruption, poverty, human trafficking, and many other situations have all contributed.

Northern Triangle is an installation by Borderland Collective, led by artists Jason Reed and Mark Menjivar and art historian Erina Duganne. In addition to the contributions of Menjivar, Reed, and Duganne, the exhibition includes works by Adriana Corral, Vincent Valdez, and Ricky Yanas as well as historical documents from the Library of Congress, the National Archives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, The South Texas Human Rights Center, and the personal archives of Stacey Merkt and Jack Elder. This presentation includes a reading area for visitors to examine research materials related to migration and borders.

Northern Triangle aims to open spaces for constructive and ongoing dialogues and exchanges around art, migration, and human rights. At Krannert Art Museum, the exhibition will be a venue for gallery talks, classroom and community meetings, a three-day residency with members of Borderland Collective, and other collaborations with campus and city partners in Champaign-Urbana.

Northern Triangle is a traveling exhibition organized by Blue Star Contemporary and conceived and curated by Borderland Collective. Exhibition support provided by the City of San Antonio's Department for Culture and Creative Development.

The presentation at KAM is sponsored in part by Frances P. Rohlen Visiting Artists Fund/College of Fine + Applied Arts, the Art + Design Visiting Artist Series, La Casa Cultural Latina, Department of Anthropology, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH), and the University YMCA. Borderland Collective Artist Residency is paid in part by the Student Cultural Program Fee.


Ricker Library of Art and Architecture has created a library guide for this exhibition, containing information on the artist's life and work. It contains bibliography, images, and online resources.
Exhibition Library Guide

Select programming for this exhibition:

September 15 | Main Level, Contemporary Gallery
5:30 pm | Gallery Conversation: Crossings and Borderlands
Crossings and Borderlands features Faranak Miraftab, professor of Urban and Regional Planning; Ellen Moodie, director of graduate studies and associate professor of Anthropology; and Junaid Rana, associate professor of Asian American Studies; moderated by Amy L. Powell, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Terri Weissman, associate professor of Art History.

September 29 | Main Level, Contemporary Gallery [Map]
7 pm | Taboo Talks - Borderlands: Resisting ICE in the Midwest
Under President Obama’s administration there has been a disturbing increase in the deportation of immigrants, especially those from Central America and Mexico.

Champaign, as the second largest immigrant city in Illinois after Chicago, has an immigrant population that is greatly affected by punitive immigration policies implemented by ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement).

Join us for an open forum in which community organizers, leaders, and activists will speak about the ways in which their respective communities are affected by, and directly resisting ICE.

Panelists include: Dr. Brian Dolinar, Jesse Hoyt, Lucia Maldonado and Cristina Lucio

This talk is hosted by Anthropology Leaders, a team of undergraduate ambassadors for anthropology on campus. The group's "Taboo Talk" series has focused on contentious issues of racism, migration, identity and justice. The event is supported by Department of Anthropology in cooperation with Krannert Art Museum.

Newly Shot Banana Bud, Three Days Old, United Fuit Company, Unifruitco Magazine, 1948. Image courtesy of Borderland Collective and Blue Star Contemporary

Borderland Collective Artist Residency | October 5–7

October 5 | La Casa Cultural Latina, 1203 W. Nevada St., Urbana
6 pm | Borderland Collective Artist Residency: Timeline Workshop
Borderland Collective presents Timeline Workshop, including dinner and discussion at La Casa Cultural Latina. At the workshop, members of the Collective—Jason Reed, Erina Duganne, and Mark Menjivar—will talk about remembrance, historical and contemporary connections, and the ways communities build knowledge and understanding.

October 6 | La Casa Cultural Latina, 1203 W. Nevada St., Urbana
12 noon | Borderland Collective Artist Residency: Lunch On Us
As part of the artist residency with Borderland Collective, have lunch at La Casa Cultural Latina with Adriana Corral, a featured artist and member of Borderland Collective. Corral is an award-winning artist whose installations, performances, and sculpture delve into themes of injustice, loss, and memory.

October 7 | Anniversary Plaza, on the Quad side of the Illini Union
12–5 pm | Migration Stories, a project of Borderland Collective artist Mark Menjivar
Migration Stories is an oral history project focusing on personal narratives of how we arrived to where we are now. We believe that where we came from and how we arrived to where we are now is important. Not just for our individual lives, but for our communal lives as well.

Stories can open a door to empathy and move us to action. We each have a migration story—some are just more recent than others. Following a workshop with students exploring the historical, practical, and philosophical elements of oral histories and how they are used within the visual arts, Menjivar and the participating students will work together in a public space to invite individuals to participate. Stories will be distributed back to participants and made available to the public in digital and print forms. Listen

Borderland Collective artist residency and related programming are paid in part by the Student Cultural Program Fee.

Antena (Jen Hofer and John Pluecker) Sumasayo //Atentamente, 2016. Installation on view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo by Brian Forrest

Antena Artist Residency | October 26–27

Antena is a collaborative project that activates links between social justice work and artistic practice by exploring how critical views on language can help us to reimagine and rearticulate the worlds we inhabit. Antena artists Jen Hofer and Gelare Khoshgozaran, both translators, writers, and artists whose solo work centers on cross-language practices and states of “betweenness,” will use their residency at Krannert Art Museum as an opportunity to explore possibilities for new collaborative projects. Gelare and Jen will present their work to the Champaign-Urbana community through artist talks, workshops, studio visits, and public conversations, and will also use their time at KAM to experiment with new processes for cross-pollination and intersection. In the six years since Antena was founded by Jen Hofer and John Pluecker, the collaborative’s work has manifested in exhibitions, publications, performances, translations, organizing, curatorial practice, interpretation, and the creation of bilingual and multilingual spaces. The group expects to expand this list through the artist residency at KAM.

October 26 | La Casa Cultural Latina, 1203 W. Nevada St., Urbana
6 pm | Antena Artist Residency: Conversation at La Casa
Antena is a collaborative project that links social justice work and artistic practice by exploring the ways that examining language can help us reimagine and rearticulate the worlds we inhabit. Antena artists Jen Hofer and Gelare Khoshgozaran are translators, writers, and artists who focus on areas of cultural and linguistic intersection—"between-ness." This La Casa Conversation will be a chance to learn about their collaborations to explore meaning in language and in art. Bring your questions... in any language you like.

October 27 | IPRH Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana
12 noon | Antena Artist Residency: Brown Bag Workshop
Language is embedded in our bodies, circulating and skeletal; at the same time, languages enter from the outside. The languages we speak determine social access and participation, they determine our place in hierarchies of privilege and disempowerment. Language Justice offers a radically different approach to language—democratizing in a multi-lingual, non-hierarchical political and public space.

In this workshop, Antena artists Jen Hofer and Gelare Khoshgozaran will invite discussion about the conceptual and practical strategies we can use to resist single-language dominance and create spaces where everyone present can express themselves fully in their own language. How might cross-language practice become a model for encountering difference in a wide range of contexts? Are we invited to open ourselves to "radical listening" as artists and as human beings?

October 27 | Lower Level, KAM Auditorium (room 62)
5:30 pm | Antena Artist Residency: Artist Talk
Jen Hofer is a poet, translator, bookmaker, social justice interpreter, public letter-writer, knitter, and co-founder of Antena, the language justice and literary activism collaborative. Gelare Khoshgozaran is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and translator working across the mediums of video performance, installation and writing. Together, these artists will talk about their backgrounds, artistic practices, and current work.

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Northern Triangle
installation view
Blue Star Contemporary
San Antonio, TX
Courtesy of Borderland Collective and Blue Star Contemporary

Newly Shot Banana Bud
Three Days Old

United Fuit Company
Unifruitco Magazine
Courtesy of Borderland Collective and Blue Star Contemporary

(Jen Hofer and John Pluecker)
Installation on view at the Hammer Museum
Los Angeles
Photo: Brian Forrest