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Artist Karla Garcia's latest exhibit reaches across U.S.-Mexico boundaries


An artist who has lived on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border put together an exhibition that reaches across that line. Karla Garcia grew up in both El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

KARLA GARCIA: I claim both cities as my home.


Garcia's exhibition is titled La Linea Imaginaria - or The Imaginary Line. To see it in its entirety, you have to go to galleries on both sides of the border.

GARCIA: This whole project became a symbol for me, or a metaphor for being one land.

MARTIN: At the heart of the collection are 50 cacti. Half are at a gallery in El Paso. The rest are on display in Ciudad Juarez. Garcia sculpted the cacti from coarse terracotta clay.

GARCIA: Which began to become sort of the language of this whole project, with raw clay symbolizing land and the earth.

FADEL: She says her inspiration came from thinking about the soil on each side of the dividing line that is the U.S.-Mexico border. It's the same soil, the same root systems below, the same plants that grow. Garcia explains that she chose cacti because, for her, they embody Mexican culture and her place in it.

GARCIA: I leave the - sort of the imprints of my fingers into these cactus forms to symbolize my presence and, yeah, my identity.

MARTIN: Garcia hopes this project will let people imagine a future where borders no longer exist.

GARCIA: This whole process of creating this binational exhibition demonstrated to me that both countries can work together. So it's about hope. And it's about resilience and acknowledging that.

FADEL: Ceramic artist Karla Garcia's La Linea Imaginaria - The Imaginary Line - will remain on view until November 30.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA'S "ELLA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.