Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
Last year, the German photographer Stefan Falke photographed the Mexican American photographer Imanol Miranda for his series La Frontera, which catalogues artists living along the US-Mexico border. In the image, 27-year-old Miranda stands before an enormous prickly pear cactus in his parents’ front yard in McAllen, Texas. He holds one of his own photographs, of a family praying in a small Catholic chapel — a glimpse of life in the Rio Grande Valley, where he lives.
As the picture reveals, Miranda is the one most often behind the camera. For the past few years, he’s been documenting the Mexican American community in the southern United States. Seen together, his photographs are a mosaic of blue collar workers, artists, musicians, war veterans, folk healers and even custom car collectors. But one of Miranda’s most recognizable subjects is the family-run restaurant or food stand, which the photographer sees as a microcosm of the Mexican American experience. He’s now raising funds on Kickstarter to show his photographs of these businesses at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin.
For Miranda, taquerias and panaderias represent the aspirations of many poor Mexican immigrants — what they do after crossing the border in pursuit of a better life. He told Hyperallergic that he hopes these images fill an absence in the media’s immigration coverage, which often reduces the story to the politicized issues of border security and citizenship status. “I want the conversation to also be about how Mexicans contribute to one of the country’s most cherished ideals: the American dream,” Miranda said.
Bianca Sandova is one of the restaurant owners who Miranda photographed; she and her husband started E&B Elotes in McAllen. As a result of the family’s hard work, what started as a simple roadside stand serving up roasted corn from a borrowed grill evolved into a registered business with two busy locations. Another is Carlos Santillana, who opened the snack bar Yum Yum after working in a bakery for a few years. “[Carlos] told me that the American dream, for him, means working hard and being consistent at it.”
Miranda’s own family owned a small grocery store that served tortas (sandwiches) in Acapulco, where he grew up. As an 11-year-old, he would deliver the sandwiches to customers, and he remembers getting excited when his parents made 100 pesos (roughly $7) in a day. But after years of struggling financially, they sold all they owned and moved to the US when Miranda was 13. “We all entered with visas and switched to various types for several years, always paying attention to maintaining a proper immigration status,” he said. “It took me a total of 13 years to achieve that milestone. After that happened [earlier this year], I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
The photographer said that financial instability is the biggest obstacle faced by the immigrants he photographs, though it’s also what drives them to the US in the first place. As he wrote on his Kickstarter page, “My parents made the decision based on the notion that we would find a better life.”
The new generation of artists and curators is eager to explore alternative organizations and to tackle current social inequalities and issues.
Her female nudes were extraordinary for the time because she portrayed female sexual desire. Her subjects defied conventional ideals of femininity.
No Vacancy, curated by Jody Graf, will be on view from October 26 through November 8 at the school’s Kellen Gallery in New York City.
Francis made over 10,000 artworks, starred in more than 100 solo exhibitions, and, in the late 1950s to mid-1960s, commanded the highest prices of any living painter.
Brian Blomerth’s Mycelium Wassonii deploys amazing graphic storytelling to share his own exploration of mushroom history
Over a century after Wright designed a workplace that borrowed features from the home, designers are at it again, but who does a homey office really serve?
Art by Athena LaTocha, Wendy Red Star, Marianne Nicolson, Anita Fields, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith & Neal Ambrose-Smith, and more is on view through January 2022.
This week, the National Gallery of Art finally acquired a major work by Faith Ringgold, the director of The Velvet Underground talks film, North America’s Hindu Nationalist problem, canceling legacy admissions, and more.
Sculptures of Oaxacan alebrijes, envisioned as guardians of the nation’s immigrant community, and catrinas, Day of the Dead skeletons, are now at Rockefeller Center.