Alejandro Lugo, Ni Una Mas Cross at the El Paso del Norte Bridge, from the series Cruces, 2018. Aqueous inkjet print. Gift of Alejandro Lugo in a call for justice for the innocent girls and women killed in Ciudad Juarez since 1993. 2019-9-3 © Alejandro Lugo
Alejandro Lugo, Mexican American Gothic: Twenty-first Century Pioneers, from the series Seen from the Back / De Espaldas, 2016. Printed 2018. Aqueous inkjet print. Gift of Alejandro Lugo in honor of the cultural contributions of Latinx immigrants to US society. 2019-9-1 © Alejandro Lugo
Artist Profile

Alejandro Lugo (United States, born Mexico, b. 1962) is an anthropologist and documentary photographer of the US/Mexico border. He uses his camera to compose images of everyday scenes with strong symbolism. He also plays with language; for example, Lugo’s series Cruces pairs the meaning of los cruces (crossings) with las cruces (crosses).

In one photograph in the collection, a memorial cross at the vehicle border entry to El Paso, Texas chronicles numerous instances and known victims of femicide, the heinous act of gender-based violence against working-class women and girls in Ciudad Juárez that has been ongoing since 1993.

In another photograph, a Mexican couple dances in front of a large bronze monument in Chandler, Arizona built to commemorate the city’s US settlers.

Lugo compares the image to Grant Wood’s iconic painting American Gothic but with a meaningful difference: the family is pictured de espaldas, from the back.

Lugo was professor of Anthropology and Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois from 1995 to 2018. His photographs can also be found in the collection of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.