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Every year, an estimated 170,000 immigrants make the undocumented journey across the Mexico-U.S. border. Carrying nothing but backpacks and water jugs, they travel on foot through the hundred-degree heat of Texas, New Mexico and Southern California. Dehydration and exhaustion claim the lives of hundreds each year. Their bodies are consumed by the desert or buried in small towns, leaving loved ones back home forever wondering what happened to their brothers, sisters, parents, and children. Trails of plastic rosaries and empty water jugs prove they were there while paving way for the next.


As a seventh-generation Texan and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, the plight of current and future undocumented Americans causes me grave concern. Images of this contemporary crisis haunt and fuel my work to create an empathetic and atmospheric visual echo of this struggle. This installation serves a a gesture towards the anxiety, fear, and determination immigrants experience in this harsh physical and emotional climate. Deterioration and hybridization of symbols, the displacement of home, and the guidance of religious faith are represented. All of these aspects encourage awareness that our current immigration policies have real life consequences; the death of hundreds every year simply searching for a better life serves as testament. 


“Seeking Asylum” is an attempt to give a voice to those silenced. This exhibition is dedicated to them.

Seeking Asylum 1 - J. Leigh Garcia
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Seeking Asylum 2 - J. Leigh Garcia
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Seeking Asylum 3 - J. Leigh Garcia
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