Hundreds of red-hued tiles hang from the ceiling of the Mexic-Arte Museum’s rear exhibition space. Light bounces through the room casting a deep shade of orange. As one viewer walks through the suspended tiles, a couple sway gently before returning motionless until another eager viewer passes. The lively sound of Rancheras playing leaks into the room from the other exhibit, leaving you with the feeling that the tiles should be dancing. I wanted them to be alive.
There are things that happen in our lifetimes that entire societies are unaware of; sometimes the reality is obscured by government censorship, insufficient media coverage, or even the inability to believe. The state of Chihuahua in Mexico has recently gathered widespread attention due to surges of drug-related violence even though the victimization and killing of women has been prevalent for more than a decade.
Since 1993, approximately 3,000 women (possibly more) in Ciudad Juárez have been tortured, raped, and murdered and the majority of the investigations into these mass killings of women, also known as “femicides,” have yet to even begin. Adriana Corral is currently displaying “Voces de las Pérdidas” in Mexic-Arte Museum which is dedicated to the girls and families of Juarez who have suffered through this social and political injustice.
Corral’s visually striking exhibit is composed of hundreds of suspended red tinted clay tiles replicating body bag tags. The tiles themselves were produced in the tile making capital, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico, with the soil from a cotton field in which eight murdered girls were found. The sheer number of tiles and the simplicity of the body bag tile entries show an overwhelming and sad truth that death has become so institutionalized that even after more than a decade of brutal femicides, a solution has not been found.
Corral’s work is stunning in a variety of manners. She captures your attention with a bold interpretation of a reality that is hard to imagine. The display forces you to ask questions and learn more about a city and its tragedies that once seemed distant, irrelevant, or unknown. “Voces de las Pérdidas” stands as a testament to the thousands of innocent girls who have been victimized and for a city that is searching for answers to questions it has asked for years.
Mexic-Arte Museum is dedicated to enriching the community through education programs and exhibitions focusing on traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. Since its founding in 1984, Mexic-Arte Museum has been designated as the Official Mexican and Mexican American Fine Art Museum of Texas by the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas.
The Mexic-Arte Museum is located at 419 Congress Ave. “Voces de las Pérdidas” runs through March 27.