Juarez! Somos Tus Jovenes!

This project was part of Clinicas de Hip Hop, a collaboration between 656 Comics, Colectivo Fundamental and Biblioteca Independiente Ma’Juana and funded by the US Consulate.

In June of 2012, I was invited by 656 Comics (a visual narrative collective) and Colectivo Fundamental (a hip-hop collective) to teach a series of graffiti and muralism workshops and facilitate the execution of a large mural at Puente Reves in the center of the city. Here, I piloted the Inheritance Process under the title of “Que lo Quiero” workshops. Every morning for a week, I met with the promoters of Colectivo Fundamental, who are young men aged 17-30 that serve as mentors and teachers of youth from the colonias. Then, in the afternoon, some of them joined me to meet with their mentees at MUREF (Museo de la Revolucion en la Frontera). We conducted the Inheritance Process, and used the work created in the different groups to inform one another. Then, the youth, promoters and local artists came together to execute the mural. The style of the mural was defined by local sign painting, graffiti, and traditional and community muralism. Simultaneously, we conducted parallel workshops at Biblioteca Independiente Ma’Juana with youth aged 5-12.

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Juarez! Somos tus Jovenes! was part of a larger project, The Inheritance Project.

The Inheritance Process is a dynamic, adaptable series of inquiries designed to yield community-sourced messages and visual metaphors.  It is a process that intends to foster both self-reflection and expression, as well as collectivism.  The process can be used to inform a number of creative and artistic practices, but is especially suited for public art such as murals and posters.  It is also designed to be relevant to multi-generational groups, but is particularly suited for youth aged 6-30.

Through individual and collaborative writing, drawing and grounding exercises, a group answers a series of simple inquiries.  We ask, “What do you want for your personal future?”, “What do you want for your family?” and “What do you want for your community?”.  Finally, we ask, “If another world is possible, what does it look like?” and “How do we get there?”.

Self-documentation is another facet of the Inheritance Process.  As our world continues to be more and more defined by imagery and digital representations, we believe it is important that communities develop skills that allow them to document themselves in their own voices.  We document with peer-to-peer interviewing, video and photo, digital archiving of materials created through the process and reflective and analytical writing.  The self-documentation process is augmented by the following reflections: “What am I
inheriting?”, “How do I inherit myself?”, “What inheritance am I building to leave for those that come after me?” and “How will I actively bestow that inheritance?”.

One of the central long-term visions of Inheritance Process projects is to utilize new media and online platforms to bring transnational and international communities into dialogue with one another.  The Inheritance Process was piloted in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico through a high-profile mural project at the Clinicas de Hip Hop organized by 656 Comics and Colectivo Fundamental.  Through 2014, we piloted different versions of the Inheritance Process with organizations in New York and Brooklyn.