Alejandro Lugo


A pink board with a cross and many nails stands at the border crossing in El Paso, TX. It bears a sign that says "Ni Una Mas!" Beneath, in large letters is the word "Justicia"
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


Two dancers, male and female, perform in a public square outdoors. They are seen from the back. The man wears boots, white pants, a blue poncho with a brightly colored border, and a flat-brimmed hat. The woman, an embroidered skirt and shirt and headband
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
Alejandro Lugo

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.