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Consider Frida Kahlo’s “Self Portrait Along the Border Between…

Consider Frida Kahlo’s “Self Portrait Along the Border Between Mexico and the United States” (1932).

What imagery does Kahlo use in this painting? Why do you think she holds both a Mexican flag and an American cigarette? Is this dream American or Mexican or both at once? 

 

Salt of the Earth, whose main characters are called both Mexican and fourth-generation Americans, deeply rooted in the soil of New Mexico from the time when it belonged to Mexico. How does this image connect to that idea?

 

After reading Alicia Schmidt Camacho, who opens her book by quoting activist Guadalupe Gomez declaring at a rally in 2006, “Nos ha tocado ser gente que no es de aqui ni de alla. Ahora seremos gente tanto de aqui come de alla, las dos cosas al mismo tiempo.” (It has been our lot to be people who are neither from here nor from there. Now we will be people from here and there, both at the same time.). To you, does this image illustrate “neither from here nor there” or does it show “both at the same time”? 

 

Camacho avoids the nation-based term “American dream,” instead using the transnational idea “migrant imaginary.” By imaginary, she does not mean fake; she means a cultural idea carried in hearts and minds and art. Camacho’s thesis about the “migrant imaginary” is a particular cultural ideal that refuses to limit itself to only one country. What do you see here? 

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