About Pasos Ajenos

Trotando Pasos Ajenos: Social Justice and Inequalities in the Borderlands began as a curiosity between collaborators, Dulcinea Lara and Nicholas Natividad, about how to bring somewhat abstract ideas about power, race, and oppression to a broader audience within the Borderlands. This coming-together around difficult topics was envisioned as a way to begin truth-telling toward the more noble goal of healing the wounds of past atrocities. While the ideas were being conceptualized on paper, local artist, Daniel Aguilera, was invited to bring dimension to the installations.

What resulted is a bilingual art and cultural exhibit that aims to gather large numbers of people in one space to engage in substantive narrative change on issues of power, race, gender, labor, (im)migration, border health, and poverty. The cutting-edge 12-installation (and growing) exhibit creates opportunities form intergenerational communities to come together in nuanced dialogue, creating understanding and empathy toward lessening inequalities and their generational consequences. . . particularly in spaces affected by old and new forms of colonization and within the US-Mexico Borderlands. This fully-interactive exhibit is designed to appeal to a wide audience, ranging from children to elders and is tailored to examine regional issues of justice and inequality as they pertain to identity and power. The exhibit was successfully displayed in Fall 2017 at the Branigan Cultural Center in Las Cruces, with over 500 in attendance at its premier. Over 600 middle and high school students attended during the 3 month duration of the exhibit.

There has been widespread, positive community response; for this reason, we have been invited to re-exhibit at the New Mexico State University Art Gallery (UAG) in Fall 2020 and at the new Bernalillo Community Museum soon thereafter (schedules are adjusting due to Covid-19 conditions). Because of the socio-political climate at the border we are developing new installations to address current issues impacting the region. The exhibition’s new iteration will be titled Pasos Ajenos: Social Justice and Inequalities in the Borderlands and feature original installations plus new material that will focus on African American presence in the Borderlands region, as well as expanded information about policies shaping the region since 2017. This web presence is also an added feature—speaking directly to the need for high-quality, culturally-relevant educational materials for and about people living in this region as well as for people interested in learning about this region from a place-based perspective.

Finally, the goal for Pasos Ajenos is to take the show on the road! Plenty of “lore” and misinformation about the Borderlands abounds—both within the region and in far reaches of the country and the world. The goal of this exhibit is to inform people about the history and contemporaneous situation for Borderlands communities, particularly in New Mexico—a state that often goes unnoticed when compared to Texas, Arizona, California. As such, the traveling exhibit is available for booking to museums, school districts, community centers, and universities.