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  • Arte de Lágrimas

Arte de Lágrimas (art of tears) is a traveling exhibit of drawings made by Central American refugee children and youth crossing the Texas-Mexico border. These drawings were made after the children had just been released from the McAllen, Texas, detention center. Arte de Lágrimas has partnered with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley to set up art stations at the Sacred Heart Church Reflief Center and McAllen Central Bus Station, and the exhibit has been on display at churches and community centers throughout Texas. It is curated by the Reverend Dr. Gregory L. Cuellar, director of the Refugee Artwork Project in Austin. He can be reached at GCuellar@austinseminary.edu.


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1.

Laura, “Mi comunidad (My Community)”, 2014. Crayon, 9″×12″. Laura is 15 years old from El Salvador. In this picture she drew her community—a serene horizon and multicolored houses.

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Dayana, “Mi Jornada (My Journey),” 2014. Colored pencil and marker, 9″×12″. Dayana is 7 years old from Guatemala. In this picture she drew her journey to the United States. She and her mother first travelled by car and then by bus. She remembered that the road was long and gray (left side). Her picture narrative ends with them crossing the Rio Grande on a makeshift raft (lancha). She first drew the rocks (piedras) in the river and next to the riverbanks. She then drew the makeshift raft in the middle of the river with her and her mother inside it. Arte de Lágrimas volunteer, Gregory, asked, “did anyone say goodbye to you?” to which she replied, “my aunt.” She placed her aunt on the Mexican side of the river waving goodbye. Gregory then asked, “was there anyone else?” Without saying anything, she removed the rosary from around her neck and traced the crucifix over the Rio Grande. She then began to sing the hymn, “En la Cruz, en la Cruz, yo primero vi la luz, y las manchas de mi alma yo lavé, fue allí por fe yo via Jesús, y siempre feliz con El seré (At the Cross).” She and her mother sang these words while on the raft.

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Lesli, “Amor (Love),” 2014. Crayon, 9″×12″. Lesli is 5 years old from Guatemala. In this picture she drew love. Before she boarded her bus, she ran to volunteer Nohemi and gave her a hug and a kiss. She also gave her this picture, saying, “es amor.”

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4.

W, “Cruzando La Frontera (Crossing the Border),” 2014. Colored pencil and crayon, 8.5″×11″. W is 15 years old from Guatemala. In this picture he narrates his border crossing experience, starting at the Rio Grande. After being held by force in a warehouse, he and a friend were released in a remote desert place. Disoriented, they followed the traffic noise, which led them to the Rio Grande. It is here that he begins his picture story on the top left corner. He and his friend are hiding behind bushes preparing to cross the river on an inflatable tube. After crossing he travels inconspicuously through the woods. Reaching the other side, a lady watering her garden came to their aid, giving them food, water, and a phone call.

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5.

Javier, “Mi Ciudad (My City),” 2014. Watercolor, crayon, marker, and pencil, 10.5″×10.″ Javier is 16 years old from San Miguel, El Salvador. In this picture he drew his city. Central to his hometown is his church, Basilica of San Miguel. In the horizon is the majestic Chaparrastique Volcano.

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6.

Fredy, “El Barco (The Boat),” 2014. Watercolor and marker, 9″×13.5″. Fredy is 5 years old from Guatemala. In this picture he drew the boat he and his mother rode while crossing the Usumacinta River (Guatemala-Mexico Border).

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7.

Ashley...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-7371
Print ISSN
2151-7363
Pages
pp. 86-93
Launched on MUSE
2016-09-06
Open Access
No
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