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Gemidos de la Tierra (Wailings of the Land/Soil) by Jackie Amézquita
March 25 - March 26
Gemidos de la Tierra (Wailings of the Land/Soil)
by Jackie Amézquita
March 25 and 26, 2023
Co-presented by LACE and LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division)
We invite you to join us and follow Gemidos’s route for a powerful weekend of grieving, healing, and community. On Saturday, participants will begin the day in DTLA where the artist will kick off the procession with a performance by Amézquita. The trucks will start the caravan, and once all our participants are lined up behind the trucks, the procession will begin. We will follow the route (provided ahead of the day) and make stops at detention centers and anti-immigrant corporations across Los Angeles. On Sunday, participants will follow the artwork to visit pro-immigrant rights and well-being organizations around the city, concluding the procession at MacArthur Park and with a special closing performance and celebration. Drivers should anticipate driving for approximately 40 miles on Saturday, and 18 miles on Sunday.
We will host a closing celebration from 3–5pm at MacArthur Park featuring a special performance by Dorian Wood and Michael Corwin and free tamales provided by Across Our Kitchen Tables for the first 100 guests (vegetarian options available). Eduardo’s Tamales will be on site providing additional tamales for sale (vegetarian options will be available).
About Gemidos de la Tierra (Wailings of the Land/Soil)
Gemidos de la Tierra (Wailings of the Land/Soil) by Jackie Amézquita addresses the cruel and fatal reality of detainment camps that immigrants encounter upon their arrival to the U.S. (List of Deaths in ICE Custody). The names of the deceased are created with soil from the state where the individual died, and combined with cornflour (masa), salt and rain water to symbolize that despite their death these individuals still inhabit a physical space.
Gemidos de la Tierra (Wailings of the Land/Soil) becomes a place of healing, memorializing, and encouraging activism. The names of children who were victims of the detention centers are created with the documents that published their deaths, and mixed with chia seeds that ultimately will sprout from the letters themselves. Due to each name being created with its own unique mixture of soil and other natural ingredients, each name possesses its own unique texture and color palette, honoring each individual rather than reducing their lives to a statistic as the U.S. Government does.
On March 25 and 26, this mobile public installation will be activated in Los Angeles and surroundings. The panels will be transported on trucks, to be exhibited while en route to each destination, accompanied by a caravan of cars. This project makes visible two public lists of deaths from ICE Detention Centers in 2003–2023 that will be presented in front of detention centers and pro-immigrant mutual aid organizations.
Amézquita’s project is integral to making the migration crisis visible. Through her use of transporting public documents that were found on ICE’s website (now removed), it is imperative to continue the dialogue about immigrants and the ways in which state-sanctioned violence and death are legalized and actively inflicted against migrants seeking refuge and a better quality of life.
This project was initiated by LACE’s former Chief Curator and Director of Programming Daniela Lieja Quintanar, who invited Amézquita to work with LACE and LAND for the execution of the mobile public art component of Gemidos de la Tierra (Wailings of the Land/Soil); Lieja Quintanar continues to support as an advisor.
About the Artist
Jackie Amézquita (b. 1985) is a Central American artist based in Los Angeles, California. Amézquita was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and migrated to the United States in 2003. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from ArtCenter College of Design and an Associate degree in Visual Communications from Los Angeles Valley College. She recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in the New Genres program at the University of California, Los Angeles (2022).
LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 committed to curating site-specific public art exhibitions in Los Angeles and beyond. LAND believes that all people deserve the opportunity to experience innovative contemporary art in their everyday existence, to enhance their quality of life and ways of thinking about their community. In turn, artists deserve the opportunity to realize projects in the public realm, unsupported through traditional institutions. LAND brings contemporary art outside of the walls of museums and galleries, into our shared public spaces and unique sites. nomadicdivision.org
Gemidos de la Tierra (Wailings of the Land/Soil) is supported by Angeles Art Fund, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Mohn LAND Grant, AltaMed, and National Performance Network (NPN).
Image: Jackie Amezquita, Gemidos de la Tierra, (2020-22). Photo by Ian Byers-Gamber. Graphic design by Carolina Ibarra-Mendoza.