Folklife Festival Narrative Session: Border Stories: Mural Art & Community: Border Imagery in Arts & Crafts

About the Project

The U.S.-Mexico border is a rich geography where cultures and art practices take on a distinct aesthetic. Based on research in the rich and dynamic living culture of the border, the Borderlands Festival program of 1993 was designed to provide a glimpse of the border - its histories, its diverse communities, local and regional identities, and its music, arts, crafts, healing practices, foodways, and narrative. The program was about community-based culture and explored the processes through which Native American, Mexican, Hispanic American, Anglo, and other immigrant communities create, adapt, and preserve culture to meet the challenges of life on the border. This session was facilitated by Enrique La Madrid and features Festival participants Alonso Encina Herrera, Romulo Frias and Dr. Valenzuela who discuss border imagery and identity aesthetics used by artists and community groups, like La Sociedad de la Esquina in Ciudad Juarez. Differences and similarities in mural cultural identity, iconography and aesthetics between artists in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and El Paso, Texas lowrider social clubs are explored. This narrative session was a part of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands program at the 1993 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Note: This narrative session was originally recorded in English and Spanish. Please transcribe all in its original language, do not translate. Transcribing the original language can help us increase access to our collections and engage with a greater audience. See the finding aid for this program here.

La frontera entre los Estados Unidos y México aporta una rica geografía donde las culturas y las artes adquieren una estética distinta. Basado en la investigación, la programación del Festival Borderlands en 1993 nos ofreció una muestra de esta cultura fronteriza— sus historias, sus diversas comunidades, identidades locales y regionales, y de su música, su arte, su artesanía, sus costumbres, su comida y su narrativa. La programación se enfocó en la cultura comunitaria y examinó los procesos a través de los cuales las comunidades de nativos-norteamericanos, mexicanos, hispanoamericanos, anglosajones y otras comunidades inmigrantes crean, adaptan y preservan su cultura para enfrentar los desafíos de la vida fronteriza. Esta sesión fue facilitada por Enrique La Madrid y cuenta con la participación de los participantes del Festival Alonso Encina Herrera, Rómulo Frías y el Dr. Valenzuela, quienes hablan sobre las maneras en que los artistas y grupos comunitarios, como La Sociedad de la Esquina en Ciudad Juárez, han utilizado la identidad como una construcción social tanto individual como colectiva a lo largo de la frontera. Los participantes exploran las diferencias y similitudes en la identidad cultural en el muralismo, la iconografía y la estética entre artistas en Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México y El Paso, Texas, en los clubes sociales de lowrider. Nota: Esta sesión narrativa se grabó originalmente en inglés y español. Nota: Esta sesión narrativa se grabó originalmente en inglés y español. Por favor transcriba todo en su idioma original, no traduzca. La transcripción del idioma original puede ayudarnos a aumentar el acceso a nuestras colecciones y a involucrarnos con una mayor audiencia. Consulte la guía de colección para este programa aquí.

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Difficulty

(5 out of 5)
(details)

Level 1 --- BEGINNER

Content: all typed
Language: English
Format: letters, diaries, flyers, pamphlets, and one-page documents
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: none required

Level 2

Content: mostly typed, handwritten in print, or otherwise very clearly written/readable
Language: English
Format: memorabilia, advertisements, image captions, telegrams, diaries, letters, notes
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: none required

Level 3 --- INTERMEDIATE

Content: typed and handwritten materials in cursive or print
Language: English
Format: newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, letters/diaries/notes that may include annotations or margin notes
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: experience reading cursive writing may be useful

Level 4

Content: handwritten materials, primarily in cursive or somewhat difficult to read (predominantly from the 19th and 20th centuries) , audio recordings that are relatively easy to hear/decipher, and scientific materials
Language: English and/or other languages that use Roman script but may require the use of diacritics (French, Spanish, German, Italian, etc.)
Format: audio recordings, letters, diaries, notes and other written materials, projects with templated fields and special instructions
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: some knowledge of non-English Roman-character/script languages and diacritics may be useful, as well as experience reading cursive handwriting. A general knowledge or familiarity with scientific terminology.

Level 5 --- ADVANCED

Content: handwritten materials in cursive (from the 19th century or earlier) or in a non-Roman script language, audio recordings that are difficult to hear or are not in English, specialty materials/projects such as numismatics projects and the Project Phaedra notebooks 
Language: foreign languages that use non-Roman characters (Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Greek/Cyrillic, Native American and Indigenous languages, etc.) and English 
Format: audio recordings, columned data/tables, manuscripts, letters, diaries, notes, currency sheets, coins
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: knowledge of a specific language and access to a keyboard with the characters in that language may be required for certain projects. Experience reading cursive handwriting and familiarity with 19th century (or prior) handwriting and conventions/abbreviations may be useful, as well as knowledge of scientific terminology, astrophysics data, or linguistics.

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