Nov 092011
 

Reckoning with feminicide, part 2

By Beth Connors-Manke

Editor’s note: In part 1 of this series, Beth wrote about the exhibit Wall of Memories: The Disappeared Señoritas of Ciudad Juárez by Lexington artist Diane Kahlo. Here, Beth reports more on the feminicide in Ciudad Juárez.

In 1993, young women began disappearing in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which sits across the border from El Paso, Texas. The young women, often workers at the assembly plants along the border, are found around the city or in the desert, tortured and mutilated. Many believe that the murders are partially the result of neoliberal economic policies, drug trafficking, and governmental corruption. One can only say ‘partially’ because the murders have never been solved and the situation in Juárez is a confusing web of violence, drugs, conspiracies, and fear. While many news reports put the number at 350, scores more women are believed to have been killed under similar circumstances.

Portrait of Yanira Freire by Diane Kahlo. Photo by Dana Rogers.

The murders in Juárez have haunted me for more than ten years. In the last few months, as I spoke with Diane Kahlo about her exhibit, looked at her portraits of the murdered girls and women, researched the situation in Juárez, the haunting has become more acute. Once one knows that brutality like the feminicide exists in the world, it becomes harder to believe that the civil society we enjoy here in the U.S. sits on an unshakable foundation. What we have here is not indelible; it exists only as long as we demand a just body politic and a safe community. When we relinquish safety and justice, society unravels—and very quickly.

This is the case with Juárez. Charles Bowden, who has reported on the city for years, calls it a “black hole in the body politic.” A black hole destabilizes everything around it. Continue reading »

Oct 122011
 

Diane Kahlo’s Wall of Memories

By Beth Connors-Manke

Until November 4, the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art at the University of Kentucky is exhibiting Wall of Memories: The Disappeared Senoritas of Ciudad Juárez by Lexington artist Diane Kahlo. The show presents portraits of the more than 350 disappeared and murdered women of Juárez, Mexico.

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It’s not shocking until you remember that they’ve been killed—horribly. In the portraits they are darling young girls, outlined in gold, as if they are everything we’d want: innocent, curious, luminous and fresh in the world.

Sometimes a frame has a name but no portrait. Instead, there’s a small metal bird, or a sequined butterfly, or a rose, or La Virgen, or the Sacred Heart. These girls seem further from us, their violent erasure more complete.

***

One of these girls had four heart attacks before she finally died, her heart trying to protect her from the horror. Another girl was simply a vest found in the desert; her mother has nothing else by which to identify her. Continue reading »

Oct 122011
 

Depicting the difficult: a project generator for writers and artists

This project generator is open to writers, visual artists, filmmakers, performance artists, and musicians working on projects about visceral social and political issues, especially those related to violence. The goal of the workshop is to gather together writers and artists to share their current projects and to catalyze future multi-modal, collaborative, politically-engaged projects in Lexington.

Diane Kahlo, creator of Wall of Memories: The Disappeared Senoritas of Ciudad Juárez, will speak about her process of researching and depicting the women killed in Juárez, as well as her theoretical approach to feminicide and the socio-political issues along the U.S.-Mexican border. Continue reading »

Sep 282011
 

NoC News

From October 6 to November 4, the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art at the University of Kentucky will be exhibiting Wall of Memories: The Disappeared Senoritas of Ciudad Juárez by Lexington artist Diane Kahlo. The show presents portraits of the more than 350 disappeared and murdered women of Juárez, Mexico.

In 1993, young women began disappearing in Ciudad Juárez, which sits across the border from El Paso, Texas. The young women, often workers at the assembly plants along the border, are often found in the desert, tortured and mutilated. Many believe that the murders are partially the result of neoliberal economic policies, drug trafficking, and governmental corruption. One can only say ‘partially’ because the murders have never been solved and the situation in Juárez is a confusing web of violence, drugs, conspiracies, and fear. While many news reports put the number at 350, scores more women are believed to have been killed under similar circumstances. Continue reading »