Como Soles: Despidiendo Luz
An exhibition gathering works rendered in hand-poured beeswax, drawings on cloth, and radio broadcasts that meditate on territory, borders, and what we’ve inherited from our ancestors’ labor. 
Como Soles: Despidiendo Luz, borrows its title from a speech by Ricardo Flores Magón, one of the leaders of a 1911 rebellion which took control of Mexicali and Tijuana for 6 months and established a short-lived radical autonomous territory along the U.S./Mexico border.
The included works place such moments in the historical evolution of the border into dialogue with the artists’ family histories of working and living binationally – drawing for example on the history of Sanchez Arteaga’s great-grandfather as an agricultural worker and UFW organizer in the Imperial Valley/Mexicali.
Ultimately, reflecting on residues of resistance we inherit, hold on to and pass on; gestures of solidarity that stand in defiance of the increasingly injurious geopolitical boundaries dividing us.
Throughout the run of the exhibition, the artists undertook ceremonial candle-lighting of works on view, including an installation of 188 candles memorializing the number of migrant deaths recorded by Customs and Border Protection in the San Diego, El Centro and Arizona sectors of the U.S./Mexico border in the first six months of 2021.
 A Footnote Poem:
She was a fire human.
A mutable but focused and singular Sagittarius flame, not a conflagration.
Steady, bright, white hot in the center, touchable at the borders, only for a second.
A light in the darkness.
Warmth in the cold.
Who singes the tlacuaches’ tails.
Promethean harbinger of sustenance, legibility, peace.
A hand to hold, a love to know, a legacy to cultivate from.
I was a child hanging clothes to dry on the clothesline in the summer dusk. By her side I swatted at a bee afraid it would sting me, and she said, “They won’t hurt you. They’re your ancestors. They worked with your Pepe in the fields, they’ve been with us forever and they won’t hurt you, they remember.”
Bees remember. Wax remembers.
Como Soles [Like Suns]
188 candles handmade from beeswax of worker bees in Imperial Valley, San Diego, and Ensenada, sand, wood box.
Installation consisting of 188 candles to be ceremoniously lit throughout the run of the exhibition. The number refers to the number of migrant deaths that have been recorded by Customs and Border Protection in the first half of 2021 in the San Diego, Imperial Valley and Arizona sectors of the U.S./Mexico border.
As of September 2021, this number climbed to 557 recorded deaths throughout the extent of the border, the highest yearly total ever recorded, a consequence of the implementation of Title 42 in March 2020 which has essentially shut the border for those seeking asylum. This has meant migrants seeking shelter and safety from deadly dangerous conditions are having to make multiple attempts to cross the border, taking increasingly dangerous routes through the Sonoran desert, which has been weaponized as part of U.S. policies of enforcement through deterrence since 1994.
Hacia la Vida [Toward Life]
Radio, silkscreened candles, ½ mile pirate radio broadcast via 87.9 FM
We created a custom 7-day prayer candle using binational beeswax that the public was invited to light.
The design and prayer-poem were inspired by a conception of migration as a life-affirming act of resistance against oppressive necro-political States.
A call-and-response recitation of the prayer-poem initiated lighting ceremonies and was also included as part of an audio component that was simultaneously broadcast via 87.9FM from the gallery to the surrounding neighborhoods and played in the gallery via a Diaz family heirloom radio system throughout the run of the exhibition.
“Hacia la Vida” Broadcast | Tracklist
00:01 – 30:00 [Intermittent]
Very Low Frequency Natural Radio Patterns [field recordings of naturally occurring radio waves caused by Solar Flares in the earth’s ionosphere, the liminal border-zone between earth and outer-space]
01:04 – 03:40 [Intermittent]
Luis Perez, “Ipan in xiktli metztli (En el Ombligo de la Luna)
02:00 – 02:20
Land Acknowledgement, “This land was Mexican once / Was Indian always / And is / And will be again” [from Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera]. Delivered by Yolanda Meza in Nejí Kumeyaay.
02:30 – 03:40
Sun Ra, “It’s After the End of the World” (from “Space is the Place”)
03:44 – 07:00
Chavela Vargas, “Hacia La Vida”
07:00 – 18:00
Migrant Testimonies of border crossings through the Sonoran Desert [collected by the artists in migrant shelters in Mexicali and Tijuana, read aloud by pedestrians waiting to cross the border through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.]
19:25 – 23:45
Excerpt of Magonista Texts including Ricardo Flores Magon’s “Hacia la Vida” – originally published in the Los Angeles newspaper Revolución in 1907, later republished in Regeneración October 1, 1910. Read by Pepe Rojo from the Comite Magonista Tierra y Libertad.
24:20 – 26:35
EZLN Excerpts of “Entre la luz y la sombra” + “Carta de Subcomandante insurgente Marcos. Al niño Miguel A. Vazquez Valtierra. La Paz, Baja California Sur.”
27:15 – 28:45
Field recordings from migrant rallies in Tijuana, Baja California in 2018.
29:00 – 30:00
©©, “Hacia la Vida / Toward Life” [Poem for lighting candles]
Mantel Para Bordar (Cuentos ancestrales de fuego, cera, tela e hilo) [Tablecloth for Embroidery (Ancestral stories in fire, wax, cloth and thread)]
Silkscreen and ink on Cotton, thread.
Semanario Para Bordar [Days of the Week Embroidery Set]
Ink on cotton
Domingo – “Tierra para todos…” (from Ricardo Flores Magon, “Hacia la Vida” )
Lunes – “The worker must have bread…”(from Rose Schneiderman 1912 textile worker strike)
Martes – “Uprising…” (from Hannah Arendt “On Revolution”)
Miercoles – “Luchar es el pan y la sal…” (from Comunicado EZLN, “No Somos Muro, Puente Somos”)
Jueves – “Seeking a now…” (from Audre Lorde, “A Litany for Survival”)
Viernes – “For a colonized people…”(from Frantz Fannon, The Wretched of the Earth)
Sábado – “Sin pan no habrá paz” (from South American Protest Chant)