This Bridge Called My Dreams and the ‘Grafica Mobile’

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Las Imaginistas opened their first exhibition together as a collective at South Texas College in Weslaco. The show includes work from Taller de Permiso and Hacemos La Ciudad, and focuses on the processes of community dreaming and imagining in these two projects. Las Imaginistas believe that in order to better embody equity, we must first be able to imagine it, and  we reflected this idea in the collection of work presented in the exhibit titled, “This Bridge Called My Dream.”  

The exhibit welcomes outside viewers to enter the space with vinyl illustrations laid across large, clear windows depicting a storyboard of our Taller de Permiso project. The viewers meet Sueño-buela, a grandmother who’s made a living street vending to provide a more prosperous  life for herself and her family, and who travels across the community encouraging others to share and celebrate their own dreams.

On the right hand side there is a series of photos; a young girl in a power stance proudly displaying her new and decorated bicycle, a group of marching adults holding up Taller de Permiso flags during the Dream Parade, four curious children playing along in front of their houses as the parade marches by. There are images of community members picking out chucherias (found objects) from an organized pile of random objects as part of the “Place It! Workshop”, and a young person arranging a community resource center into a 16 foot by 16 foot model of Downtown Brownsville at the Festival de Construccion.  

On the left, monotypes of phrases collected from ambassadors of the future at our Movimiento de el Futuro workshop are displayed, along with costumes designed by Nolan Navarro.  One monotype, with a yellow background and blooming flowers casting the border wall as a shadow, reads: “The border wall influences how we feel about ourselves.”

At the center of the exhibit space rests our Grafica Mobile, a rasquache, homemade printing press attached to our triciclo (or vender bicycle). Grafica Mobile celebrates and amplifies street vending as an art, a dignified way of working, and an important tradition that is part of the arts and culture of the city. More than a celebration of street vending, Grafica Mobile is a working piece of art that will soon travel across neighborhoods serving as a tool for art and education in the community.

As viewers come to the end of the exhibition space, on the wall furthest from the entrance and the Sueño-buela, they come across a large vinyl illustration depicting a future city. Written in large text above the clouds and the future city’s night sky is an invitation, “Share your dream for the RGV!”

“This Bridge Called My Dream” as an exhibition builds on the ideas of citizens as empowered dreamers, working collaboratively to shape the city around them.  The exhibition marks the first time that the Imaginistas have shared their work in a gallery context, thereby allowing the viewer to pay witness to all the different ways Brownsville has come together in the last year to creatively re-imagine and re-invent their future.  

Nansi Guevara