Issues Through Art – An Army of Clay Stands Tall

By: Lisa Coleman

The imigration issue is a sticky topic. Depending on where you grew up, or what your perceptions and politcal views may be, illegal Mexicans coming to the the United States is either an understandable yet complicated plight, or simply an unacceptable circumstance. Without getting too black and and white on a clearly gray issue, I personally believe the problem is far more complex than preventing Mexicans from working without a green card. It’s about history and lives and the vast cultural differences that push men and women to risk their lives for something better.

A clay army will soon take a stand to help recognize those who fight for freedom across the border. According to CBS Arts, a Mexican artist is working to “repopulate” his hometown with Picasso-like clay figures for an art installation that comments on the flood of residents leaving in a search for a better life in the U.S.

With the help of a $100,000 US grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, artist Alejandro Santiago has so far created about 1,500 life-sized clay figures out of the 2,501 he envisions for the project in his hometown of Teococuilco, located in Mexico’s southern Oaxaca state.

His endeavor is really something to behold and it is scheduled to be completed by the end of August. Santiago sees the world through the eyes of a personal journey. He understands what drives people to want to more. His goal is to bring them to life through his hands and the beauty of his sculpture. As the old saying goes… “there are two sides to every story.”