Creation Date



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plaster gauze casting

Artist Statement

In recent months, the media has created frenzy over the entrance of thousands of children entering the United States illegally. However, this is not recent news. Furthermore, these children have been devalued as humans and discriminated because of their race. No importance has been given to the fact that they are not migrating for pleasure, but to gain a better live, to reunite with their families, to get away from the increase of violence and lack of accessible education in their home countries.

My mother, at the age of fourteen, made the long trip from her hometown in Puebla, Mexico, to the United States by herself. I remember at the age of fourteen I was starting my freshman year in high school. The worst thing I had to confront was passing my exams. As much as I attempt to place myself in her shoes, I will never be able to fully understand what she, as well as millions of people, go through in the attempt to create a better life for themselves and their future children. The only thing I can do is acknowledge the sacrifices and be grateful for it.

Inspired by the story of a young boy who went house to house begging for nothing more than a pair of shoes to continue his journey, Pal' Norte, a slang term meaning 'going north', is an installation piece that explores the dehumanization of immigrant children and adolescents. Using plaster impregnated gauze, to cast the multiple pairs of shoes in this piece, I attempted to recreate the innocence of these children that cross the Mexico- United States border every day. Furthermore, I want to address the dehumanization that is created by the media, politicians, and our society that seems to forget the fact that these are children, not to mention human beings.


© Ivonne A. Martinez-Alfaro, 2014. Photo credit: Jim Cauthen.


unaccompanied children, immigration