U.S.-Mexico border holds tragic immigrant stories. A new L.A. exhibition lets them speak for themselves.
A girl who lives in Mexico and crossed the border from Mexico into the U.S. in the rain on a hot summer night. She spent 18 days in the desert, walking mile after mile, her father, two men and two boys on a mule carrying a watermelon from Mexico with a few bottles of water each. On a dirt road in the desert. With one bottle left, and no water for long. A man who crossed the border from Mexico and died because he couldn’t get out of the desert. What they had to endure, and their families and friends too. A woman with three children, and a husband, and boyfriend, and the other man and the boy, and her mother-in-law, and her mother’s friend. And so many others. All in all, more than 1,000 people who made the journey that started in the U.S. and ended in Mexico: the Rio Grande, which has swollen into a river; the heat and the sand and the dirt; and the children.
A scene from a family portrait as they sit at a table, with their children seated at a table as well, in celebration of San Diego’s 20th birthday. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
In Los Angeles, there’s an exhibition at the Getty that attempts to make sense of the stories that make up U.S.-Mexico border. A new one opens Sunday at the L.A. County Museum of Art, called “Border Stories: A New Portrait of America.”
Each story tells a different part of the U.S.-Mexico border story and shares the feelings that often go hand in hand with crossing that line.
A mother of three trying to help her sons cross the border to get into California. A father who has five children and has been trying for eight years to cross the border, but each time he makes it. A Border Patrol agent who doesn’t know how to do his job by not knowing how to cross the border. A refugee whose father lost a baby. A mother who lost her son and lost what little she had left when he died.
What was it like to be different?
As soon as you get here, you have this other life, you have this other life, that other life, then