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Nov. 5 online event features Art21 episode and discussion with artist Tanya Aguiniga: WCSU presents ‘Borderlands’ virtual screening and artist Q&A

image of Tanya Aguiniga at the border

DANBURY, CONN. — Artists whose works draw inspiration from the region around the U.S.-Mexican border will be featured in a free virtual screening on Thursday, Nov 5, 2020, hosted by the Western Connecticut State University Department of Art of the “Borderlands” episode from the Peabody Award-winning “Art in the Twenty-First Century” series.

The online event from 7 to 9 p.m. will begin with the “Borderlands” screening, followed by an exclusive Q&A session with Tanya Aguiñiga , one of the artists examined in the episode. WCSU Assistant Professor of Art Sabrina Marques and Dr. Carina Bandhauer, professor of Sociology and chair of the Department of Social Sciences, will participate in the discussion. For free access to join this virtual screening and Q&A event, the public is invited to register at the Eventbrite portal,

The episode, part of the 10th season of the Art21 contemporary art series airing this year on PBS, focuses on the works of internationally acclaimed artists Aguiñiga , Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Richard Misrach and Postcommodity arts collective collaborators Cristobal Martinez and Kade Twist. The episode explores how they have sought through diverse artistic media to evoke their personal visions of the U.S.-Mexican border region stretching more than 1,900 miles and spanning populous urban centers, watersheds and desert regions.

“The region between the United States and Mexico has long been a site of not only political conflict and social struggle, but also intense creative ferment,” the program notes for the “Borderlands” episode said. “Employing a fresh approach, the filmmakers connect and juxtapose a group of acclaimed artists as they work along the U.S.-Mexican border, interweaving their stories to chronicle the creative responses to one of the most divisive moments in the history of the area.”

image of Tanya Aguiniga
Tanya Aguiñiga at her Los Angeles studio. Production still from the Art21 television series “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” Season 10, 2020. © Art21, Inc. 2020.

Aguiñiga’s binational roots run deep as a youth who daily crossed the border from her childhood home in Tijuana to attend school in San Diego, where she was born. Trained as a furniture and craft designer and recipient of an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, she began her artistic journey with the Border Arts Workshop, a collective that expresses the varied languages of activism through public art. Her works, shown in 14 solo and more than 110 group exhibitions across the United States and Mexico over the past two decades, typically are made from natural fibers and other traditional craft materials. Her impressive and diverse creative portfolio ranges from sculptures and installations to performances and community-based art projects, often with a social justice theme.

image of Tanya Aguiniga at the border
Tanya Aguiñiga at the U.S.-Mexico border wall, Tijuana, Mexico. Production still from the Art21 television series “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” Season 10, 2020. © Art21, Inc. 2020.


“Aguiñiga’s work speaks of the artist’s experience of her divided identity and aspires to tell the larger and often invisible stories of the transnational community,” the program notes said. “Her current work uses craft as a performative medium to generate dialogues about identity, culture and gender while creating community.”

Aguiñiga has earned recognition as the inaugural fellow for the Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities and as the U.S. Artists Target Fellow in the field of Crafts and Traditional Arts. Her works are held in public collections including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“Borderlands” also features the art of Lozano-Hemmer, a Mexican artist whose technologically sophisticated installations in public places provide forums for human connection and civic engagement; Misrach, a photographer whose hauntingly beautiful images of the American Southwest depict the effects of natural disasters as well as man-made marks on the landscape from nuclear test sites to the border wall; and Postcommodity artists Martinez and Twist, whose installations in collaboration with local communities reimagine sites of conflict and provide fresh perspectives on indigenous culture.

For more information about the virtual screening and Q&A, contact Lori Robeau of the Department of Art at



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