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Fronteras: 'Una Voz Desatada / A Voice Unbound' Immigrant Child Trauma Told Through Art And Words

A happy, young 12-year-old girl living in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, sees her life upended when her family emigrates across the border to El Paso. Though the move was from one border town to another, the culture shock brought emotional and physical trauma that she’d carry throughout her life.

Una Voz Desatada (A Voice Unbound): The Art, Writings and Trauma of an Immigrant Child” is a posthumous exhibit of the life of Rocío Alvarado.

Credit Courtesy of Dean Lockwood
Rocío as a 12-year-old student in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, before starting school in the United States.

Confronting themes of child immigrant trauma, in-school abuse and the scars carried from childhood, this exhibition focuses on three periods, spanning over four decades, of Rocío Alvarado Lockwood’s life (1961-2015). Dean Lockwood was married to Rocío and curated the exhibit when the family discovered her art and writings two years after her passing.

The joyous childhood Rocío once had in Mexico soon became distant memories. The emotional, physical and cultural trauma that came with her family’s new life in the United States left Rocío as a powerless, voiceless foreigner — a familiar sentiment for many immigrants.

In her journals, she described teachers kicking her, twisting her arms and forcing her to sit in a dark closet with her feet tied to a chair, only for the reason she could only speak Spanish. Drawings of shadowed faces, closed mouths and haunting, sinking eyes were created around 1989, when Rocío was an art and education student at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Though her writings and art were created nearly two decades apart, they’re a collective record of “surviving that period of selective mutism, to become a mature caring adult, a bilingual teacher with a special soft spot for those kids in the back of the classroom who looked lost and locked out.”

Una Voz Desatada (A Voice Unbound): The Art, Writings and Trauma of an Immigrant Child will be on display at Bihl Haus Arts through Oct. 27, 2019.

WHO: Una Voz Desatada: The Art, Writings and Trauma of an Immigrant Child WHERE: Bihl Haus Arts, 2803 Fredericksburg Rd., San Antonio TX, 78201 (located on the Primrose Senior Apartment property) SAT OCT. 12, 2PM: Readings from the catalog by “Las Blurbistas” SUN OCT. 27, 2PM: Closing gallery talk with exhibition curator Dean Lockwood and poet & author Carmen Tafolla.

Norma Martinez can be reached at Norma@TPR.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1.

Lauren Terrazas can be reached at Lauren@TPR.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren