Cuando el Río Suena
On view October 4, 2019 – January 26, 2020
Cuando el río suena, es porque agua lleva.
"When the river sounds, it is because it carries water."
Award winning artist and sculptor Jaime Guerrero offers a unique look into the refugee crisis in the United States with his solo exhibition titled Cuando el Río Suena.
The title of the exhibition, Cuando el Río Suena ("When the River Sounds"), is from a South American proverb: Cuando el río suena, es porque agua lleva ("When the river sounds it is because it carries water"). It relates to the danger in the journey of migrants crossing the U.S. border.
Guerrero uses this new body of work, created during a nine month long residency at PGC, supported in part by The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, to shed light on everything from border crossings and child/family separation to detainment camps and subsequent fatalities.
Guerrero’s exhibition explores the fragility of life as it relates to the current U.S. border crisis, with its influx of refugees and asylum seekers being met with fear, separation, and often times a much harsher reality than they could have imagined. The exhibit opens with a life-sized blown glass little girl, who represents the two year old child from Honduras whose audio went viral as she was being separated from her mother upon crossing the US border. The sculpture, along with the image and audio of this particular little girl’s experience, humanizes these children, whom most of us only see as a blurb on the news. Along with this child, several other life-sized blown glass children are displayed throughout the gallery to represent different border experiences, such as that of just crossing to the other side, separation, and detainment. Guerrero has also created a series of angels to represent the children that have passed away under border patrol custody/detainment. To see glass children alongside angels to expose the living and dead in this border struggle opens up a visual and paradox that is usually withheld from the general public. These children become real and can be felt and understood in a different light, on different terms. The exhibit also features a wall of letters written by migrants, young and old, to share their experiences of crossing the border in search of a new life. Guerrero’s body of work opens our eyes and strives to connect people, building community from shared experiences, hopes and dreams, understanding and compassion.
“My work embraces the notion that art can influence social change. It is important to bring awareness to the moral inequities that exist in society today,” Guerrero said.
This exhibition is supported in part by The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.