Video: ‘Undocumented Travelers’ Blossoms at GW Museum and Textile Museum

Wall-sized installation reflects personal experiences with the U.S.-Mexico border.

Undocumented Travelers
April 12, 2016

The U.S.-Mexico border is the focus of some of the most intense debate of the current presidential election cycle, with candidates such as Donald Trump advocating the construction of a wall between the two countries.

But beyond the rhetoric, few people know the dangers and rewards of such crossings as intimately as fiber artist Consuelo Jiménez Underwood.

The daughter of an undocumented migrant farm worker and a third-generation Chicana, Ms. Underwood spent her childhood traveling back and forth across the contested border.

Her site-specific installation, “Undocumented Travelers. Xewa Time,” part of her “Borderlandia” series, confronts the cultural and ecological ramifications of the U.S.-Mexico border. The exuberant, wall-sized display of paint, barbed wire and quilted flowers is part of “Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora,” an exhibition at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. It was partially inspired by a map in the museum’s Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection.

Above, watch the piece come alive with the help of Lynn Sures, program head of fine arts, and students from the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.

“Stories of Migration” will run from April 16 to Sept. 4. Ms. Underwood will be one of 30 featured artists present to discuss her work at a free gallery talk April 16 at 11 a.m.