Puro Borde reflects border life through art
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Puro Borde has been showcasing the art of local artists from across the border for the past year. They primarily promote public art through different genres and media.
Aaron Venegas, who graduated from UTEP in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in printmaking, has been involved with this project since its initiation. According to Venegas, Puro Borde has created a sense of understanding of what it’s like to live in the border.
“The life in the border is reflected through the different paintings that Puro Borde exhibits,” Venegas said. “Each painting expresses and focuses mainly on the political, cultural and social interaction between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso.”
Puro Borde was officially started on Oct. 13, 2011. As their host, La Panaderia Rezizte would allow artists to exhibit their work and use the backyard to hold events where they would invite local bands to perform.
“La Panaderia Colectivo Rezizte, has been part of this ongoing movement,” Venegas said. “We would love to have it certified as a non-profit gallery in the future, but meanwhile, artists still use it as a place to hangout, showcase artist’s work and interact with fellow neighbors in the community.”
Over 20 diverse artists from both sides of the border have come together to express themselves by beautifying and renovating their communities through colorful and motivated murals. According to Venegas, artists also have the opportunity to interchange and share their own stories of what it’s like to live on the border.
In constant interaction with other cities, Puro Borde has become well known in areas such as Little Rock, Durango, Torreón and Mexico City.According to Venegas, it has ultimately created networks with other artists.
“Our main objective with this project is to connect with other people without the use of words,” Venegas said. “Communicating through art and being able to send a little piece of ‘la frontera’ to other parts of the world is very important to us; therefore not only does Puro Borde promote awareness but also promotes our local artists that have the opportunity to showcase their work.”
Although Puro Borde has been a community project, Venegas said that unfortunately citizens of Juárez didn’t always approve of it.
“When we first started painting murals in deteriorated zones, people didn’t quite understand the meaning behind this project nor accepted our type of art; rather they considered it as graffiti vandalism,” Venegas said. “But after the first two years, our project became more stable and solid, people of Juárez started identifying and believing in our art, which therefore attracted more people to our events.”
El Centro Campesino, Mujer Obrera, El Centro Aliviane, Spaghetti Bowl, Glass Gallery and the UTEP Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center have been some of the places where Puro Borde has showcased their work in the El Paso-Juárez region.
Valeria Santillan, sophomore digital media production major, said that she appreciates a group of students wanting to change the perception of the border.
“The Puro Borde project has expressed the importance of solidifying both border cities,” Santillan said. “A lot of students that don’t consider themselves citizens of either side of the border are the ones that are able to identify through the motivated paintings.” According to Venegas, their goal is to make students reflect on border life from all around.
“Having the support and partial sponsorship of the Consulado Americano en Ciudad Juárez has helped us a lot in some of our traveling,” Venegas said. “Since every time we have invitations from outside the city to showcase we have to pay with money from own pocket.”
As a result, Puro Borde is in the process of establishing an online store through their website where fans of their work can purchase merchandise such as posters and t-shirts, Venegas said.
“This will help us create a sort of fundraiser where we can make good use of the money by traveling to other cities and continue promoting our art,” Venegas said. “We love to travel to other cities. The last thing we want to do is stay in one particular place or limit ourselves to one kind of audience.”
Puro Borde will continue to use social media such as Facebook and their current website, puroborde.org, to inform people of future events. Meanwhile, Puro Borde will continue showcasing their current exhibition at the Lower Valley, La Galeria de Mision Senecu, located at 8455 Alameda Ave.