Phoenikerxs Create Artistic Critique of Walls, Physical and Symbolic
On Sunday, an installation created by eight Arizona artists, many of them Phoenikerxs, executing the vision of Mexican artist Bestabeé Romero, was unveiled. Giovana Aviles, Leonor Aispuro, Martin Moreno, Jenea Sanchez, Gloria Casillas, Oliverio Balcells, Estrella Payton and Raji Ganesan participated in Betsabeé’s week-long residency that culminated in the presentation of the piece under perfect Phoenikera weather.
The installation titled “Para un muro ensimismado,” which roughly translates to “For a Solipsistic Wall,” is currently on view at Growhouse on 2nd Street, north of Roosevelt in downtown La Phoenikera. “The piece is a critique to world powers and the notion that they have the option to put walls around themselves and separate from the rest,” says Casandra Hernandez from Celebración Artística de las Américas (CALA). “There is a small group that is separating itself more and more, but in the end we’re all riding the same car and it won’t run if we don’t work together. This piece highlights the absurdity of the illusion of separation.”
The eight artists participated in talks with Betsabeé Romero to understand her vision for the work. Then they worked on the installation from Friday afternoon until Sunday before the unveiling. “It was great to hear Betsabeé say she wants her art to be displayed in the center of a community to make it accessible to everyone,” says Giovana Aviles, a Phoenikera artist. “It was a pleasure working with all the local artists who participated. Every single one of us were determined to make the vision of Betsabeé come to life and I was so happy to be there every hour, experiencing every part of the process.” The artists didn’t have assigned parts of the project. They worked together on everything, from painting the cloth that covers the piece, to lifting the car and placing it where they wanted it to go.
Betsabeé Romero is an internationally recognized artist who lives and works in Mexico City. She’s had exhibits and participated in residencies in different parts of the world, including the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean. Her work focuses on a critique of issues such as migration, gender roles and religion through items of mass consumption, such as cars. Her residency in La Phoenikera was a collaboration between CALA and the Arizona Commission on the Arts’ AZ Art Worker program.
“Para un muro ensimismado,” will stay on display at Growhouse until the end of April. You can visit CALA’s web site for visiting hours. Growhouse is located at 1025 N. 2nd St. in La Phoenikera.