Hope in Every Step - Artwork Selections 3rd Prize. Juror Mark Tindle:
"These three woven panels are packed with meaning and vividly capture the experiences of the artist and their family's attempts to enter the USA escaping a civil war in Central America. The work speaks to the feelings of fear, loss and confusion, which are particularly strongly-felt by children. The story and the work exist together as one and the result is profoundly moving."
I was six years old when I crossed the border. I felt scared, anxious, and excited to get to the other side where my mother was. I didn't remember her well. She left El Salvador for the US when I was three years old.
We tried to cross the border twice. The first time they caught us. I remember seeing this big 4x4 truck that was white and green. On the side, it said: IMMIGRATION CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. We had to go back through Tijuana, and stay in a run-down motel. My Abuelita, Brother, Sister, and two coyotes stayed in one small room.
The next night, we tried a second attempt. ICE caught us again! The two coyotes ran away. I sat in the 4x4 holding my sister's hand. ICE talked to my Abuelita, and they agreed to let us go. They had the same color of skin as we did.
We ran and ran—this is when I lost my shoe. It wasn’t just any shoe. It was the shoe that my mom sent me from the US. It was the shoe I wore for three years. It was special to me. It was a navy blue Mary-Jane, made from leather with buckle straps, and it had four ‘tears’ decorating the toe-cap. I wonder where it is now? Or has it decomposed somewhere in the desert? In the third panel, you can see a representation of my shoe, resting near the Chaparral Prickly Pear and Silver Cholla cacti.