On November 29, 2018 we opened the photo exhibition “La Frontera: Artists Along the US-Mexican Border” by New York City-based, German artist Stefan Falke at Leipzig University’s Hörsaalgebäude.
We welcomed around 50 guests, among them students, Leipzig University faculty, Leipzig locals, as well as a group of Gymnasium students and their class teacher, to explore the diverse and complex world of culture along the US-Mexican border.
For the last decade, photographer Stefan Falke has traveled the 2000 miles long US-Mexican border and portrayed artists, painters, photographers, musicians, writers, architects. “La Frontera” exhibits a small sample of this massive project. The project’s aim it so present the vibrant cultural side of a region which is portrayed by the international media with the sole focus on violent crime and illegal immigration. “La Frontera” looks behind these narratives and tells the stories of those people who are living and working in the region.
American Space Leipzig Director, Prof. Crister S. Garrett, and expert for border studies, Prof. Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez, opened the event and guided the guests through the exhibition. During their short remarks, they emphasized on the importance the border has played in American society. Starting with the myth of the American frontier, the border has always been a complex space between promise and uncertainty. Especially in the 60’s and 70’s, muralists have used this tension as a motif to emphasize the instability of life in the region. Since then, border artists have been at the forefront of producing a counter discourse to mainstream media and culture. The project “La Frontera” reminds us that the border is not just a space of uncertainty, but also of creativity, emotion, history, and political ideologies.
The guests took their time to thoroughly explore each photograph and understand the complex story it tells. One student was especially intrigued by the depth each picture manages to portray. Just by looking at the artists and their work in these photographs, you begin to understand how different the US-Mexican border is from how it is mostly presented in the media, she explained.
The photo exhibition can be found until the end of January in the Hörsaalgebäude , 1st floor, Leipzig University and is is free and open to the public.