Opinion: Symbolism of Art Sculpture Proposed by Border Alliance
By Ricardo A. Samaniego
I am very privileged that renowned Mexican sculptor Pedro Francisco Rodriguez and his team recently visited my office to ask me to lead their initiative to place their Border Alliance art sculpture at a location along the US side of our border with the Mexico.
I’m honored that their preferred site was in our iconic Ascarate Park so the new sculpture would line up with “La Equis” or “The X”, the nearly 200 foot tall red sculpture in Juarez.
Interestingly enough, our El Paso County Commissioners Court’s phased and expansive parks master plan includes a recommendation to have an art structure along the Cesar Chavez border highway to showcase the futuristic landscape and activities collaterals of the park. The park master plan also includes an amphitheater.
The artistic sculpture proposed by Border Alliance incorporates an amphitheater in its design, thus fitting into the master plan for our parks.
The artist’s primary motivation is to symbolize the alliance between our two very symbiotic nations. He particularly wishes to highlight our mutual collaboration to heal from the tragedy of August 3, 2019; our unity in the face of a humanitarian refugee crisis; and our struggle to combat an insidious and relentless virus from a regional perspective.
A Border Alliance structure that symbolizes our threshold to the future will also showcase the beautiful community healing garden at one end of Ascarate Park and the Mexican “X” at the other end – forming a solid triangle of unity, peace and collaboration between two closely woven. and communities steeped in history.
But there is more to the symbolism of the three.
These three synergistic structures, each with its own history, will result in an international phenomenon not found elsewhere. The three works of art can be viewed and visited on their own merits and can also be seen and enjoyed in their entirety.
Philosophically, these three artistic symbols will be characterized by understanding their parts individually, and also as intimately interconnected and explainable with reference to the whole. The whole thing is the artist’s vision: a glimpse of a future full of possibilities and a celebration of hope.
As my dear friend Manuela Gomez, a professor at El Paso Community College, said, “It will send the following message: ‘What stinks? That no ? Somos very?’”
Beyond our American and Mexican brotherhood, we are also a united triangle between Texas, Chihuahua and New Mexico, and we form a powerful front.
My goal is to help fund this project, just like we did with the Healing Garden – with donations, sponsorships and other forms of support. Once completed, our community will have the privilege of visiting these artistic landmarks.
The structure of Border Alliance will always stand to remind us, as does the Healing Garden, that our community will always find ways to rise like the Phoenix and emerge much stronger.
Additionally, the structure will inspire us to appreciate life in the wake of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 10,000 people in our region. It will also keep us focused on the post-pandemic challenges ahead and, most importantly, it will deeply remind us that our first line of defense in the event of a pandemic or any other unprecedented crisis is our mental and physical well-being.
It is a beacon of hope, but also a beacon for which we must pool all our resources to be much more proactive as an international community so as not to be caught off guard.
Sometimes the stars just seem to align for our beautiful community.
The Border Alliance sculpture and plaza will undoubtedly tie the three projects into one or “Las tres à la vez” as an artistic marvel that will be enhanced by our star on the mountain at night.
Let’s work together as a community to catapult the unique and historic collaborations into an internationally stunning attraction.
Ricardo A. Samaniego is an El Paso County judge.
Note: “Border Alliance” is the name currently proposed by Pedro Francisco Rodriguez, but there is interest in involving our community in proposing a different name as well as active community input on other aspects of this initiative which are to come.