Tension, 2017

A collaborative performance during AMBOS Project with Tanya Agüiñiga.
Douglas, Arizona-US, and Agua Prieta, Sonora-Mexico

Backstrap weaving is a time-honored technique that requires a long, narrow loom wrapped around the waist of the weaver and secured to a stationary object. In tension, Tanya Aguiñiga and Jackie Amézquita’s bodies serve as stationary as both the body and the stationary object weave from one side to the other side of the border fence. Agüiniga and Amézquita received training in back strap weaving from Mayan women in Chiapas and Guatemala, respectively. Aguiñiga is a staunch advocate for honoring pre-colonial cultures and knowledge through the art of backstrap weaving while also maintaining a strong connection to physical labor. Meanwhile, Amézquita sees weaving as a way of reconnecting to one’s cultural identity and ancestral knowledge.

The border fence united the two artists during an activation at the border. Aguiñiga was stationed in Douglas, Arizona, while Amézquita was in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, in full view of the US Border Patrol. This location holds immense significance for Amézquita, who attempted to enter the US undocumented as a teenager to reunite with her mother in 2003.