Borderline Art

Local artist Suzanne Klotz says viewing her piece on the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Operation Gatekeeper is like "saying a prayer for all the souls who have died in a desperate attempt to cross the borderline."

The 7-by-7-foot wood and mixed-media sculpture titled Operation Día de los Muertos will be on display at the Border Summit along with a mixed-media installation by local artist Gustavo Lozano and several large tile pieces on loan from Las Artes workshop and gallery.

"The holocaust has always bothered me and I would always say to people if I had any idea that this was going on I would have helped the Jewish people," says Klotz, "and I was thinking, this is a holocaust what's happening on the border, and I'm not doing anything."

Klotz, whose work is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian and the National Museum, among others, says she was inspired partly by autopsy photos published last year of an immigrant who was shot by Border Patrol agents.

The piece depicts "recent tragedies and human rights violations resulting from the escalating U.S. militarization of the Mexican border," she says.

One side of the three-dimensional piece includes shadow boxes with the names of people who have died crossing the border. "These were human beings with families who cared about them," says Klotz, "people who had horrible deaths at the hands of U.S. policy. If nothing else they should not die in vain. (The piece) is to honor them and honor what happened to them, because that could make a difference, and their lives could make a difference."

The art exhibit is open to the public on Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Inn Suites Hotel, 475 N. Granada Ave.

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