Adrian Aguirre resides in Las Cruces where he is an educator and artist exploring issues of migration through representational drawing and painting.
Las Cruces | adrianaguirre.com | @adrian.aguirre.art
Las Cruces, New Mexico is located just forty-one miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, where cross-national migration is a daily occurrence. Adrian Aguirre has witnessed this migration and evolving migration policies firsthand. The artist grew up in Ciudad Juárez at a time when the border between El Paso and Juárez was relatively open and families would commute across the border to go grocery shopping or even for work. Aguirre now resides in Las Cruces where he is an educator and artist, exploring issues of migration through representational drawing and painting.
Migrantes (2019-21), a series of drawings and paintings, illustrates many of the mundane and tedious aspects of migration, such as waiting in line for water, walking through tent camps, and casual conversations. The series also includes several intimate portraits where a figure is forward-facing, gazing toward the viewer and rendered meticulously in charcoal or oil. Aguirre carries the same portraiture approach and thoughtful style of rendering to another series titled Jornaleros (2008-10), which depicts Texas day laborers and expands on the migration experience. Portraits of men confronting the viewer with blank documents define the series, suggesting the violence of bureaucracy and the unequal power dynamic between migrants and law enforcement.
In a third series, Patrol (2022), Aguirre shifts his focus from the migrant to the enforcers of United States migration policy: border patrol. Three charcoal drawings are clearly sourced from the widely circulated 2021 photographs of Texas border patrol on horseback in pursuit of Haitian migrants. Aguirre’s study of these photographs results in images that display in no uncertain terms the hierarchy of power over those who migrate and the inhumanity inflicted by U.S. border policy.