MICHAEL BOGERT: Photo Gallery — CrossingThe Border: A Public Art Installation
On Saturday (,June 18), the installation was available for viewing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the banks of the Red River on both sides of the Sorlie Bridge, starting in East Grand Forks …
… and extending into Grand Forks.
A portion of the 300 ceramic figurines appeared to be running toward the Red River on the East Grand Forks side …
… and emerging from the river in Grand Forks.
“Immigration defines, in part, the American experience,” Guardia notes. “People immigrate for many reasons. Most look for a better future and for opportunities. In this installation, the …
… whimsical and playful figurines highlight hopes and aspirations associated with immigration. Underlying these hopes, however, are critical challenges that impact the decision to immigrate or experiences during immigration.”
In addition to the figurines, “Crossing the Border” includes six ferocious coyotes, two of which chase the figures on the East Grand Forks riverbank …
… and four of which lie in wait to ambush the figures on the Grand Forks riverbank.
Guardia (observing the installation from the Sorlie Bridge), indicated that the “coyotes represent why people migrate — to escape poverty, hunger, violence, corruption, lack of opportunity, as well as the struggle immigrants encounter when arriving in a new country.”
These themes have special significance for Guardia. In 2002, he immigrated to Grand Forks from Peru to earn his MFA in ceramics at the University of North Dakota.
Currently, Guardia is a studio ceramic artist at Muddy Waters Clay Center in Grand Forks. His ceramic sculptures have been exhibited around the country.
“Crossing the Border” took place concurrently with the opening of the Farmer’s Market …
… and World Refugee Day celebrations, which took place in nearby Town Square.
The installation was facilitated by the Public Arts Commission and was free and open to the public.
“Crossing the Border” was made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region through the Forkin’ It Over for Public Art program.
“Crossing The Border: A Public Art Installation,” which could be seen Saturday along both sides of the Red River near the Sorlie Bridge in downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, depicted the trials and tribulations of immigration, as symbolized by local artist Guillermo Guardia. Guardia, himself an immigrant from Peru in 2002, said the 300-figurine project took four months to complete. Grand Forks photographer Mike Bogert was on hand to capture the Greenway event.