Border Story: The Artist Flees

The Artist, 1st Day on el lado norte – 01/01/2010

EL PASO –

New Years Day. A time for “beginnings.”

I hope. Should be.

She is an extraordinary artist. A force of nature.  A giver. A maker of strong things and deep inspiration. Unmovable. A force.

The sicarios came to her studio in Juarez right before Christmas. The new scourge. “Start paying up or we’ll kill you and burn your studio down when we’re finished,” they said

This is the studio she willed into existence. Up against the mountain in Juarez she created a wall of tile and mirrors, mosaic sculpture, a thing for Juarez like nothing else. A monument. A love gesture to the city of her heart and to the heart of many of us in la frontera.

Their threat wasn’t idle. Not in these hard times in Juarez. Shortly before, the storekeeper down the street, refused to pay. She was murdered.

The Artist called her family in El Paso. They came with a pickup. All in a day. She took as much of her art as she could. She fled Juarez. Her Father, in 1910, a hundred years before, after Villa issued a death warrant, also ran from Juarez.  “Fleeing runs in my blood,” she says, as we talk,  in her new refuge, in El Paso.

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