Puro Borde murals show the colors of hope in the border cities

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Centro de Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos at Oregon St. and 9th St. (Annette Baca/Borderzine.com)

Centro de Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos at Oregon St. and 9th St. (Annette Baca/Borderzine.com)

EL PASO – Local artists from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez have joined together in a network that spans the border, dedicated to painting the streets of both cities with hopeful art to refocus the minds of many who see this area as a war zone.

The network known as Puro Borde, consists of more than two dozen artists from the El Paso-Juarez area who help each other exhibit their murals, turning their cities into more colorful communities. They also place their work in local galleries.

Self-described “border artist” Arón Venegas, is a member of Puro Borde in El Paso who believes that art communicates with power. Venegas, a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, has worked on a variety of murals with Puro Borde and has exhibited his work in both Mexico and the U.S.

West pilar at Lincoln Center depicts Comandante Ramona from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. (Annette Baca/Borderzine.com)

West pillar at Lincoln Center depicts Comandante Ramona from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. (Annette Baca/Borderzine.com)

As for creating a sense of pride in a community through public art, Venegas suggests that a single mural cannot have the power that many with the same objective can. “Art that is not public is not worth doing,” Venegas said. In his opinion, art should serve the community. He explains that a mural is an interactive and collective process from beginning to end.

Apparently there is not much sense of a divide between the artists from Juarez and those from El Paso.

“The idea is to stop dividing the border with our actions, the government has already done that with all their policies,” Venegas said. “We want to see the sister cities as one region when it comes to interacting among artists.”

Coral Simón, Puro Borde member who resides in Cd. Juarez, said the two groups interact well with each other. She said that what joins the two groups is the border identity they share, their mutual love of art and a vision to bring art to the streets.

The group hopes to communicate a more accurate image of the borderland and the identity of their community through art and murals.

Another mural also at Centro de Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos. (Annette Baca/Borderzine.com)

Another mural also at Centro de Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos. (Annette Baca/Borderzine.com)

“I am a strong believer in the power of the visual arts,” Anne Perry UTEP art lecturer, said. In her opinion a mural whether in a Juarez colonia or in downtown El Paso can uplift spirits, encourage community activism, promote understanding and inspire pride in a community.

“Public murals and artists who seek to enrich our border community by creating them, are needed more than ever,” said Perry, adding that the rise in cuts to ethnic studies make artists even more necessary today.

Simón said that at some point the group was seen restricted by the violence in Juarez. However, she said that people have retaken the streets. In a turbulent time when drug wars and financial recession is affecting the lives of many in the border community, art can be a way to relieve tension and encourage positivity, she said.

Simón explained that Puro Borde promotes art by disseminating different expressions from border artists while joining them together. “It can transmit sensations, messages, register what is lived, make the impossible possible. It can inspire and can be the origin of new creations to materialize our deepest thoughts,” Simón said.

With the threat of budget cuts affecting art, music and theater programs in schools across the country, projects like Puro Borde can bring color to neighborhoods and expose the community to art they may otherwise not see.

Mural at Aliviane building was produced in counjuction with MeCha. (Annette Baca/Borderzine.com)

Mural at Aliviane building was produced in counjuction with MeCha. (Annette Baca/Borderzine.com)

Unique border art created by the artists from PuroBorde can be viewed at puroborde.org.

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6 Comments

  1. Freat mural art in El Paso. Glad to know pyro borde is investing in telling a more positive perspective of our history and rich cultura. El arte es vida!

  2. Side Note: Several of the murals in this article were painted by members of Movimiento Hunab Ku (Aron Venegas, Ernesto Hernandez with the support of several other Hunab Ku members, as well as funded by grants written by Hunab Ku members)…to learn more about Hunab Ku, visit:
    movimientohunabku.org

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