We had the privilege of working alongside Yolanda Leyva and David Romo, among many others, to photograph this stunning collection of art created by children held in the Tornillo Detention Center. You won’t want to miss the Uncaged Art: Opening Reception on April 13th where you’ll be able to see the original pieces on display.
Read more below from Dr. Yolanda Chavez Leyva, the Director of UTEP’s Institute of Oral History.
“Good morning everyone. I invite you to the upcoming “Uncaged Art: Tornillo Children’s Detention Center,” an exhibit of over 25 pieces of artwork by youth that were in Tornillo in December and early January. The exhibit will be held at UTEP at the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens. Just as they were dismantling Tornillo in early January, I received a call from Fr. Rafael Garcia of Sacred Heart Church, El Paso, TX. He had been giving mass at Tornillo and learned that they were going to throw away the art projects. He arranged for me to receive them via Museo Urbano, a street museum that I co-direct with David Romo. We’ve been working with the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP, photographer Justin Hamel and Camilo Antonio Perez Bustillo of the Hope Border Institute on an exhibit that displays the resilience and hope of the youth in the midst of their fear and suffering. The art, which ranges from drawings and painting, to clothing, and 3D models is amazing. Their talent shines through in every piece. It opens April 13. In 2020, we will open a larger exhibit.
I want to share with you a photo by Justin and Frontera Studio. There is one striking model of a church that we all loved. When we looked at the bottom, its base was a sign from the girls’ bathroom. The female Unaccompanied Alien Child bathroom. It was heartbreaking to see children referred to in that way.”