Laband Art Gallery Explores Immigration With Betsabeé Romero’s ‘Caravan’

Loyola Marymount University’s Laband Art Gallery this winter presents “Caravan,” a collaborative art installation by Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero that focuses on human migration. The exhibition opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, and runs through March 28.

“Caravan” was conceived by Romero with two faculty members in LMU’s School of Film and Television: José Garcia Moreno, professor of animation; and David Garden, lecturer of cinematography.

“Caravan” employs Romero’s signature reworking of craft traditions to address the difficult conditions facing immigrants in our contemporary moment. The show includes artworks created with paper, fabric, rubber and metal. Romero’s imagery of running-family silhouettes made of die-cut tin are being translated by Garcia Moreno and Garden into an experimental animation piece that echoes the liminal states of migration.

“Betsabeé’s artwork ingeniously combines familiar symbols and craft materials with specific historical connotations to make critical observations about contemporary society,” said Laband Art Gallery Director Karen Rapp.

“When I saw her ‘target’ installation which fuses perforated tissue paper used in Day of the Dead celebrations with silhouettes associated with firearm target practice, I was taken aback. Her bright, folkloric motifs take on a deeply sinister aura — it’s the most potent imagery I’ve come across that articulates how immigrants in our country are perceived,” Rapp explained.

The aim of “Caravan” is to bring attention to the existential toll the migration crisis has taken on the most vulnerable, those who are forced to live in the shadows for fear of being targeted. Garcia Moreno and Garden’s animation piece makes the interplay between darkness and light both the mechanism and the subject of their imagery to comment on the immigrant’s experience of being invisible.

Romero, who lives and works in Mexico City, has realized more than 30 individual exhibitions in Mexico, the United States and Europe, and has participated in a large number of residencies and international biennials. Her work is part of collections around the world, including the British Museum, Daros Collection in Switzerland, World Bank in Washington D.C., and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Porto Alegre in Brazil.

“Caravan” was organized in partnership with LMU’s Academy of Catholic Thought and Imagination and School of Film and Television, and the Latino Arts Project in Dallas, Texas.

Free Public Programming

Artist’s Talk: Saturday, Jan. 25 from 1 to 2 p.m., Burns Fine Arts Center, Room 211
Artist’s Reception: Saturday, Jan. 25 from 2 to 4 p.m., Laband Art Gallery

Image credit: Betsabeé Romero, La mira equivocada / The Wrong Look, 2019 cut paper with serigraph, 60 inch by 40 inch each. Courtesy of Latino Arts Project in Dallas, Texas.