The exhibition, La Frontera, explores the complexity of the U.S.–Mexico border as a physical reality, geopolitical construction, and state of being through the medium of jewelry – an object repeatedly used for communication throughout human history.
Worn to visibly adorn the body, jewelry is inherently performative. As personal tokens, these objects are suggestive of often unknown aspects of the person who wears them. This interplay between the external appearance and internal significance allows us to consider the surface of the body as a border, making it uniquely intimate. In this exhibition jewelry becomes a personal platform to explore themes such as home, migration, landscape, and identity.
_La Frontera _features over 85 works from contemporary jewelry artists from diverse backgrounds, including 24 artists who were born, raised, live, or work along the U.S.–Mexico border region. Expanding on traditional jewelry forms, materials, and function each artist redefines jewelry itself as they explore the symbolic and material significance of the borderlands and the stories they tell of geography, existence, and desire. Exquisitely crafted, these objects are mementos of journey and place. They are stories that are worn.
Originally curated in 2013 by Mike Holmes and Lorena Lazard, La Frontera was redeveloped in 2023 by the curators with assistance from Secret Identity Projects co-founders, Jess Tolbert and Kerianne Quick. Mingei International Museum presents this traveling exhibition in conjunction with a concurrent La Frontera exhibition at CECUT – Centro Cultural Tijuana. The exhibition travels to Mingei and CECUT from its opening at the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts in El Paso, Texas, and the Centro Cultural de las Fronteras at Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua in 2023.