Published: September 9, 2019
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By: Vidal Espina, University of California-San Diego
Category: Art & Design
Hashtags: #Adobe #Art #border #borderrelations #BorderWall #exhibition #Gallery #galleryexhibits #Guatemala #Home #Installation #installationart #Latinalatino #latinx #politicalart #Politics #trump #Video #video_editing #Wall
premiered at the Adam D. Kamil Gallery
La Jolla, CA
Sculpture and Video Art Installation
One builds walls to claim spaces; especially, to keep others out of that space. Keeping others out of these claimed spaces helps one to fall into a false sense of security and contentment. But rarely are other implications of building a wall are taken into consideration. Walls also keep one from experiencing the world outside of these enclosed spaces. These enclosed spaces often become one’s prison. Vidal explores this concept based on the politically charged United States of America’s southern border. ‘Make America Great Again,’ is, arguably, the slogan that won Donald Trump the U.S. presidency. When questioned about when America was great, Trump cited the decade of the 1950’s.
In Make America Great Otra Vez (M.A.G.O.V.), Vidal places the audience in the American ‘prison’ where the only ability to view the outside is through a wall and into the world of the 1950’s; particularly of Guatemala, a country from where Vidal’s matriarchal roots extend. The all- white space, that the audience inhabits, is a reference to the white washing of both America’s revisionist- and social- history. The wall (or better yet, a fence) references Trump’s multiple revisions on the promise of building the ‘biggest-beautiful-concrete-wall-the-likes-the-world-has-never-seen’ into a fence. Vidal’s gesture of building the wall, a representation of the promise that Mexico would pay for the wall to the reality of the Americans paying for the wall.
Vidal provokes the audience to experience the same questioning (he has experienced) of patriotism and pride in a country that he calls home. Also, asking the question: If home is where the heart is, are we, as Americans, willing to keep our hearts in a prison, shut off from the colorful world outside the borders?