By JP Graham | Reporter
The Northern Triangle Art Exhibit by Borderland Collective is dedicated to shining a light on the Central American refugee crisis beginning April 19. At the Mayborn Museum, the exhibit uses art to express thoughts and feelings surrounding the thousands of people fleeing Central America.
Borderland Collective is an art and education project focused on bringing attention to troubling topics and creating a space for meaningful conversations. Borderland Collective was founded by school teacher Ryan Sprott and artist Jason Reed in 2007 in Big Lake, Texas. The founders have since collaborated with numerous artists and contributors to create ten different exhibitions.
The Office of the Provost at Baylor University and the Baylor Social Innovation Collaboration Initiative organized and hosted a conversation Thursday night to discuss the exhibit. The conversation featured Mark Menjivar, Jason Reed and Erina Duganne of Borderland Collective, along with Dr. Hinojosa, Baylor associate professor for the honors program; Dr. Baker, Baylor’s Vice Provost of strategic initiatives, collaboration and leadership development and associate professor of anthropology; and Dr. Andy Hogue, senior lecturer & director of the philanthropy and public service program for the honors program.
Mark Menjivar, artist and contributor in the art exhibit and 2002 Baylor graduate, said each of the 10 different exhibitions convey their messages in using art that sparks discussion.
“It’s a collection of photographs, videos, drawings, archival documents that really begin to look at U.S. intervention in Latin America over the past 100 years, and how it relates to the refugee crisis happening at the border,” Menjivar said. “Most of what we do is we use art and education to engage people in that dialogue.”
The Northern Triangle Art Exhibit not only brings attention to the U.S. border with Mexico, but also highlights Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Beaumont junior Caroline Capili is one of 23 students in the Social Innovation Collaboration class called, “Child Migration in the Western Hemisphere.” In this year-long class, Capili said the fall semester focused on identifying the problem and creating a strategy to solve it, while the spring semester focused on putting the students’ plans into action.
The Social Innovation Collaboration class is taught by Dr. Victor Hinojosa, associate professor of political science, and Dr. Lori Baker, associate professor of anthropology and vice provost for strategic initiatives, collaboration and leadership development.
The class is designed to bring together faculty and students and raise awareness of these complex issues, and to find and develop innovative ways to benefit these refugees.
Capili said she and her team members, Round Rock senior Kristopher Ruiz and Waco senior Andrew Patterson, chose an art exhibit to display their message because of the influence art has on perception.
“Something that we wanted to focus on was public perception of the issue,” Capili said. “So we looked at different ways of how we could do this, and we kind of decided, ‘Oh, we want to do an art exhibit because what better way to convey a message than through works of art?’”
Capili said the Northern Triangle Art Exhibit does a good job of connecting the history of migration to what is happening currently.
“It focuses on migration from the historical perspective, and linking that to how it is now,” Capili said. “It walks you through the history of migration in Latin America, so while you’re learning, you’re making connections from the past to how things are now.”
The exhibit will be at the Mayborn Museum through the end of September 2018, and for more information about Borderland Collective and the other exhibits they put in, visit their website here.