Art on the US/Mexico Border


Oscar Monroy uses photography as his medium of choice to show life on/near/ or next to the US/Mexico Border. With the fence being typically the underlying message in nearly all his work. Does the artist use the border as an omni-  presence that surrounds everyday life around the border? His photos are a must see and have even won awards such as the one seen above.



Tochiro Gallegos is based out of Reynosa, Mexico. “His strong personal work reflects the often violent circumstances in border cities like Reynosa.” Just like many cities surrounding the US/Mexico Border such as Reynosa, crime and violence is unfortunately usually a common occurrence. With the economy down, sometimes people are driven to embrace a lifestyle of crime in order to make matters meet. This photo could be telling many different stories


For the group Jellyfish based out of Ciudad, they follow an important Mexican tradition, which is that family is important. Many Mexicans risk their lives everyday to try to cross the border in order to find work to not only improve their own lives but their families as well.  By posting their art work on the side of buildings and creating these huge murals, their work can be appreciated by everyone in the community.  Artist Alonso Delgadillo in Tijuana © Stefan Falke


“Alonso Delgadillo from Tijuana uses murals to show his pride and love for the surrounding borderlands. With the culture surrounding him absorbed by multiculturalism, he has created a unique style that can be found near the border. He calls his art style “Realist Caricature” leaning towards “Realistic Expressionism.”

“Welcome to The Looking Glass Art Gallery online sector. We are pleased to be hosting this special collection of art that was gathered from all over the areas that surround the US/Mexico Border. All the artists were invited to be part of our exhibition and will be making appearances so please check the schedule at our website for times and dates!”

For this project, I wanted to research a topic that was somewhat related to my major that I would be interested in throughout the entire duration of my project and came up with art that surrounds the US/Mexican Border. Finding many examples of artists and their works along the border cities such as Tijuana, Mexicali, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Reynosa I got a first hand look at how people actually living in these border regions are affected rather than just continuously reading about it.

In many of the featured works of art that I included in my made up art gallery, you can see how some have been influenced by transculturalization which show the merging of different cultures, each piece of art tells a story, whether it’s about a tragedy or represents what’s currently happening and how people are being affected. With their culture, current events, history and the struggles that have been or are being faced, each piece of art that I have seen tells a story that has meaning to many of other residents who live near the border. Many works of art from the border can be described as politically charged meaning that the art takes on a confrontational question about government or policy in either the US or Mexico. This style of art gained mass popularity in the late 80’s and is still seen today.

Out of all the towns surrounding the border, Tijuana has seen a majority of experimental artists and political based artists such as Carmela Castrejón, Jaime Zamudio, Benjamin Surrand, Hugo Sánchez and Gerado Naravvo; all artists with a political agenda- to raise awareness. ( Unfortunately in Tijuana, this is a city that is plagued with violence and crime that influences the art that is made in its portrayal. Tijuana, today, has an alarming increased crime rate and the people recommend that travelers and tourists don’t come here alone.

Most of the Mexican borderlands have a great sense of community and family, something that is in my opinion quite remarkable and something to take account of. By painting on large buildings, not only do these artist paint something that their community can see everyday, it allows other people to view it and feel a sense of that community and how they live. It adds a dimension to the surrounding area that can’t quite be replaced.

Because of the nature of the border and the current events happening around the borderlands, the main focus that are seemingly present in almost all of the artist’s works would be the large 18ft tall fence that divides the US and Mexico. The border. That fence which can symbolize repression has seen many tragedies. This border, has created a culture in of its own which is isn’t as uncommon as I once thought before doing the research needed with this project. With many borders that are put up, it is only common to have a divide between the people the border separates.

With a culture so strongly surrounding poverty, drug trafficking and violence, it is not uncommon for those factors to influence an artist’s work, which ultimately reflects on how one views the world. In the examples that I will be posting below, you will be able to see how all these attributes contribute to the artists work. Each piece that was represented in the Looking Glass Art Gallery has a powerful message that can stand alone, but also have different meanings depending on your view of the topic about the US/Mexican border.

2 thoughts on “Art on the US/Mexico Border

  1. Alexander LaFleur

    What you bring up here is a rather interesting thought. I think it is important to look at art from your own culture, as well as other cultures. Art can speak many words that people are not comfortable reading, or even putting on paper and people can express raw emotion of what is actually happening in the area.
    I also believe that looking in at art forms of other cultures helps you better understand that culture and what that culture has been through. I feel it is important to look at this art, whether it is music, painting, drawing, or photography. As I discussed in my Jordan a Cultural Mosaic class, this can also help global citizens better understand what it is like in different parts of the world without actually having to travel. For me, this helped me better understand the Druze people that I studied in my Minority Report class.

  2. Cory Sweitzer

    Interesting topic Cassandra!

    In my COR 330-18 Class, Minority Report, we have been learning all about Turkey and it’s sub dominate cultures within. For my final project I dove deep into the Kurds and how they are impacted by Turkish Judicial Systems and Law Enforcement. Similar to Mexicans, the Kurds are a very oppressed group of people. The Turkish Government has unjust laws and Kurds are constantly being put behind bars for petty crimes. In my research I found an instance where a Kurdish teenager was jailed for 4 years 3 months for stealing chocolate during a Kurdish rally. He had no previous criminal history and his trial was uncommonly short. His sentence made the news in Istanbul and shows how they’re oppressed like Mexicans are inside and out of the US border.


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