Alejandro Santiago’s 2501 Migrantes

Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago, who used his art to promote awareness of migration from his native state, passed away in July at the age of 49. A recent exhibition of his work was recently on display at MACO (Museum of Oaxacan Contemporary Art).

Santiago was the subject of the 2009 film 2501 Migrants: A Journey which documents his efforts to create the massive installation (for those of you with Netflix, it’s available to “watch now”, or you can buy or rent the film on Amazon).

Motivated by the northbound migration of so many from the indigenous Zapotec community Santiago came from, the ghost-town-like atmosphere of the pueblos in Mexico they left behind, and the tragic loss of lives on the U.S.-Mexico border, the 2501 Migrantes project employed local artisans assisting Santiago in physically constructing clay bodies to commemorate each migrant who left their community.

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