Immigrant Invisibility and the Post-9/11 Border in Sandra Fernandez’s Coming of Age
This article examines contemporary artistic representations of territoriality and migration. The rise in surveillance of undocumented migrants in the post-9/11 United States produces mechanisms of invisibility and redeploys the border as a movable center of power. I trace this geopolitical shift in territorial representation through the work of Ecuadoran American artist Sandra C. Fernandez, whose print Coming of Age (Transformations) (2008) stages the city of Austin, Texas, as an expanding American metropolis, attracting immigrants in search of work, but insistent on obscuring their presence. Made at the Austin-based workshop Coronado Studio, Coming of Age dialogues with the work of fellow resident artists Ester Hernandez and Tony Ortega, who share an interest in migration and trade liberalization. But in contrast, Fernandez offers a vivid example of the reterritorialization of the nation’s borders, and further connects these notions of territory to historical forms of racial oppression.