Art and Culture

In collaboration with Puentes, Mexican artist Nora H. Litz aims to empower and revitalize the Mexican community through the artistic exploration of immigration and social justice in the United States and Mexico. Children, adolescents, and adults use mixed media to recount their own personal stories. They learn to use different materials and techniques, including fabric, paper, drawing, painting, pasting, printing, beadwork, stitching, weaving, poetry, song writing. In this way, together, a multi-media project recapitulates, in a microcosm of artistic expression, the fundamentals of world geography and history. Art contributes to the holistic mission of Puentes by promoting healing through expression and storytelling. 

Advanced registration required. Clases offered on Wednesdays 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Contact: Call: (267) 714-8048  |  Email: art@puentesdesalud.org

Las ligas que nos unen (“The Ties That Bind Us”)  tells the stories of children from Puebla, San Lucas Atzala, San Andrés Calpan, and San Mateo Ozolco whose parents left them in order to find work in the U.S. In creating large format, mixed media dioramas and narrating, they tell their stories of endurance, emotional traumas, and aspirations. Their powerful voices accompany a visual tour that illustrates the affliction of migration. This project also allows these children to recognize their path forward, which includes connecting with their parents and strengthening the value of their ancestry and culture. Puentes highlighted the work of Nora Litz and in particular, the “Ties That Bind Us” during the International Metropolis Conference held at the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) in Mexico City in September 2015. (read more)

El Viaje de Los Niños (“The Children’s Journey”) tells the stories of Mexican immigrant children who have crossed the border to come live in Philadelphia. Through hands-on art sessions with artist Nora H. Litz, the children created large-scale dioramas that illustrated their travels and the effects of this migration on their lives and identities. Narrating their stories with accompanying audio tracks, the children take us along with them on their northern pilgrimage. Small paintings and poems by immigrant adults augment the children’s stories to fully reveal their emotional journeys.

The El Viaje project is itself a journey. It began in the Carpenter Street studio of Nora Litz, originally from Mexico City, as a collaborative exercise allowing children to acknowledge and express their feelings about crossing the desert. On a long sheet of brown paper (“the desert”), one end representing Mexico and the other, the United States, she asked the children to draw the things they encountered between locations. The El Viaje project evolved into El Viaje de Los Niños. The students, assisted by Litz and sometimes their parents, used a variety of materials, including clay, paint, and found objects, to transform their sketches into three-dimensional diorama works. These sculptures touch upon the many hardships the children faced—from leaving family behind in Mexico, to border control security, to secretly moving from “safe house” to “safe house.”

Nora Litz also created a map illustrating the amount of walking hours that it takes to walk from Mexican cities to destinations in the United States—a physical endeavor that some of the children endured during their immigration. Audio tracks and wall texts are featured in both Spanish and English languages so many audiences can access these tales. For more information visit El Viaje Project.