East: El Corralon

East : El Corralon also known as the former Tent City in Raymondville, Texas.
East : El Corralon also known as the former Tent City in Raymondville, Texas.

After 911, the political atmosphere became volatile and hateful.  All brown people including Mexican, Mexican-Americans, Central Americans, etc,  became as suspect as any other brown terrorists.  Somehow the attack on the U.S. became about protecting our southern borders.  This is still happening.  For a while, one of the largest ICE detention centers in our country was located in Raymondville, Texas.  The tents  are surrounded by fencing and razor wire that I see in my mind’s eye constantly,  along with border “fences”, levees, and fallow fields.  This painting is the first in a series I titled Nepantla: Art from the Four Corners of the Valley: El Corralon, Las Garritas, Muros, y Puentes (the Camp, Checkpoints, Walls, and Bridges)  This work depicts detainees with monarch wings that are falling off.  The detainees in the last rows wings lie broken on the ground, they are no longer immigrants, but regular criminals in orange suits.  A uniformed ICE officer is shown in the foreground with invisible wings, he’s an immigrant too, but no one knows that. The Raymondville water tower is white; with a blue smiley face in the R, really does stand over the detention center (which is what it is now, a private prison) and it’s taken on sinister tones for me in this work.  Money flies from the bodies to the water tower because the detainee and private prison business makes big bucks for a few  people.  I’m sure the city gets their cut.

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Celeste De Luna

Artist and Cabrona at Tejaztlan, mother, repelona.
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