Wednesday, October 3, 2012



"AQUI Y ALLA" EXHIBITION  Friday, October 5th, 2012
5:30-7:30 pm
Mural Arts Program, 1729 Mount Vernon Street, Philadelphia
(Exhibit will run from October 5-- 31st, 2012  Monday- Friday 10 am- 4pm)
Open to the public

Curated by lead artist Michelle Angela Ortiz and assistant artist Patty Barrera, the "Aqui y Alla" exhibit will showcase photographs, artwork, and in-depth video interviews surrounding the "Aqui y Alla" project. "Aqui y Alla" transnational public art project was created and directed by local artist Michelle Angela Ortiz. The project explores the impact of immigration in the lives of Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia in connection with youth in Chihuahua, Mexico.

This month-long exhibit at the Lincoln Financial Mural Arts Center at the historic Thomas Eakins House (1727-29 Mt. Vernon Street) gives the community built around the mural, as well as a larger audience, the opportunity to engage with the work on a personal level, and learn more about the impact of immigration on youth on both sides of the border.

"AQUI Y ALLA" MURAL DEDICATION  Thursday, October 18th, 2012
5:30- 7:30 pm
Mural Location- 1515 South 6th Street, Philadelphia (6th and Dickinson Streets)
Open to the public

The "Aqui y Alla" transnational public art project created and directed by local artist Michelle Angela Ortiz. The project explores the impact of immigration in the lives of Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia in connection with youth in Chihuahua, Mexico. 

For this project, Ortiz invited four artists and community leaders from Juarez and Chihuahua City, Mexico (David Flores, Juan Carlos Reyes, Oscar Gallegos and Antonio Leal) worked with youth in Mexico, who created transportable murals on fiber cloth panels that were brought to Philadelphia. The artists traveled to Philadelphia to work in collaboration with lead local artist Ortiz in conducting a series of writing, street art, and mural technique workshops with Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia.

"Aqui y Alla", which translates to "here and there", refers to the youth in both Philadelphia and Mexico, whose lives are impacted by immigration through their family dynamic, sense of identity, shifting of cultures, socio-economic status, and violence against their communities. This project works simultaneously on both sides of the border to join the two cultural worlds through the vision of young people and their art in the creation of a permanent mural in South Philadelphia.

The public is welcomed to celebrate and hear remarks from:
  • Michelle Angela Ortiz, Lead Artist/ Creator and Director of the project
  • Jane Golden, Director of Mural Arts Collaborating Organization
  • David Flores, Collaborating Artist from Juarez, Mexico
  • Fredy Argulles, Participating Student and Mexican Immigrant Teen 
  • Special performance from Mexican Folkloric Dance Youth Group from Casa Monarca

"Aqui y Alla" on WHYY Radio

Young Mexican immigrants bridge 'here' and 'there' with mural

September 17, 2012
by Elisabeth Perez- Luna
With all the million tears I cried, I could build a stairway to Heaven and bring you back home," he wrote.

The mural is called "Aqui y Alla" or "Here and There." With it, Ortiz wanted to give a voice to adolescents from both sides of the border.

Expressions of loss and longing

"The Mexican immigrant teens that work directly with us in this project, immigrated at the ages of 9 and 10 with their parents and family members and some of them on their own.

"For some of them, it is very difficult to talk about that journey and crossing, but also, they find themselves with many family conflicts of the fact that they were left behind by their parents at an early age and then they came to be reunited with their parents here in Philadelphia. There's a relationship that's broken," said Ortiz.

Ortiz is not new to the mural art project system of bringing people together to tell their personal stories. In this case, she also worked with four painters from two Mexican public art collectives from the border cities of Chihuahua and Juarez. She trained them to collect stories and artwork from teens in their cities and invited them to Philadelphia to collaborate with young Mexican immigrants here.

The process was a revelation for street artist David Flores, a member of a graffiti arts collective in Juarez.

"This project was groundbreaking for me as an artist," said Flores in Spanish, "because Michelle taught us to use a more ambitions approach to street art in terms of size and permanence. We went from fast wall graphic work and gallery painting to doing enormous collective murals."

After climbing up the three-story scaffolding, Ortiz describes a stylized Aztec calendar that forms one of several large circles in the mural.

"You have these two circles that will represent a young lady who has arrived with a map of South Philadelphia behind her, and then you're going to have a young boy that actually has a map that represents a mapping of Juarez and Chihuahua along with a specific map from Puebla, which is where most of the Mexican immigrants are coming from to Philadelphia," explained Ortiz.

'We see ourselves as artivists'...
To read more click here.