Image credit: Nick Oza.

Ex Voto NYC is a series of programs designed to explore votive practice today. Objects of Care & Resistance from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands is a conversation between Luis Osuna from Armadillos Busqueda y Rescate, Robin Reineke from the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, Alyn Mare from No More Deaths, Alvaro Enciso, artist and member of Tucson Samaritans, and artist Karlito Miller Espinosa.

An estimated ten thousand people have died while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Thousands more have disappeared. This event will convene artists, humanitarians, and human rights activists from the borderlands to discuss how they transmit their care, faith, or politics through material objects. The beautiful but harsh landscape of the Sonoran Desert is the backdrop for this quest to save lives, preserve memory, and fight for human dignity.

Objetos de cuidado y resistencia en las tierras fronterizas entre los EE. UU. y México.

Ex Voto NYC
es una serie de programas diseñados para explorar la prácticas votivas de hoy. Objetos de cuidado y resistencia en las tierras fronterizas entre los EE. UU. y México es una discusión entre Luis Osuna de Armadillos búsqueda y rescate, Robin Reineke del Colibrí Center for Human Rights (El centro colibrí para los derechos humanos), Alyn Mare de No More Deaths (No más muertes), Álvaro Enciso, artista y miembro de Tucson Samaritans (Samaritanos de Tucson), y el artista Karlito Miller Espinosa.

Un estimado de diez mil personas han muerto tratando de cruzar la frontera entre México y los EE. UU. Miles más han desaparecido. Este evento convoca artistas, humanitarios, y activistas por los derechos humanos que trabajan en la frontera para discutir cómo han logrado transmitir su asistencia, fe o visión política a través de objetos. El bello pero a la vez hostil desierto de Sonora es el telón de fondo en esta misión para salvar vidas, preservar la memoria y luchar por la dignidad humana.

On Saturday December 8th, families of missing migrants along with artists and migrant justice groups from the borderlands will hold a vigil in Battery Park to demand justice for those who have disappeared or died while crossing the U.S.-México border. We will bear witness to the unjust loss of life inflicted by a militarized border, listening to family testimonies and reading the names of some of the (at least) 7,216 people who have perished during their journey. We will also engage in an act of collective monument-making, building a remembrance altar to honor those lost and the families who search tirelessly for them.

The vigil will take place at the East Coast Memorial in Battery Park from 1:30–4:30 PM on Saturday, 12/8/18. All are welcome, and we invite you to bring an offering to contribute to the remembrance altar. For more information, visit

Alvaro Enciso is a contemporary artist living and working in Tucson, Arizona. His studio work deals primarily with the search for the “American dream”, cultural identity, crossing borders, and being the “outsider” in American society. Since moving to the borderlands in 2011, he has been using objects, mostly tin cans, left behind by migrants as they cross the Sonoran Desert. Working with these materials he attempts to tell the stories of struggle, suffering, death, and broken dreams that he sees weekly while hiking the migrant trails. For the past five years he has been working on a land art project titled, “Donde Mueren los Suenos” (Where Dreams Die), that marks with secular crosses the locations where migrant remains were found. He has planted over 800 crosses in an area of 40,000 square miles. Alvaro’s art is in collections throughout the United States, as well as Latin America, Europe and Asia. He has exhibited widely, and his art has been featured in documentaries, TV, newspapers, magazines and radio.

Karlito Miller Espinosa
is a Costa Rican-born conceptual artist who lives and works in Tucson, Arizona. In 2012 he graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) with a BFA in Painting and is currently seeking his MFA at The University of Arizona and is due to graduate Spring 2019. His work is speaks upon power relations and violence and their effect on marginalized communities, particularly regarding U.S. policy within the United States, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and Latin America. His sculptures and installations are generally composed of materials that have been witness to the results of violence perpetrated by the implementation of American policies. By using dialectic methods his work attempts to offer new perspectives and insights necessary to question and challenge the oppressive power structures that regulate the circumstances we find ourselves in today.

Alyn Mare
has been a humanitarian aid worker with No More Deaths since 2012. They live in Tucson, Arizona.

Luis Osuna
is part of the Armadillos Búsqueda y Rescate (Search and Rescue) based out of Vista, CA. As a member of Armadillos Búsqueda y Rescate, Luis works in the Sonoran Desert and surrounding areas searching for missing migrants, and locating the remains of those who have died while crossing the desert. Apart from walking the desert during searches, Luis helps the group with photo and video, and management of their social media.

Robin C. Reineke
is Assistant Research Social Scientist in Anthropology at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center, and is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Colibri Center for Human Rights. Her research and teaching interests include forensics, humanitarianism, global migration, and human rights along the U.S.-Mexico border. She is particularly interested in the tension between the history of forensics—a field dominated by state surveillance and criminalization of marginalized communities—and emerging uses of the methods and techniques of forensic science in counterhegemonic projects. Dr. Reineke has done extensive research along the U.S.-Mexico border among forensic scientists, government officials, and families of the missing and dead. This research compelled her to co-found the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, a family advocacy organization working to end death and suffering on the US-Mexico border by partnering with families of the dead and the missing.

Additional Events in this Series

November 2
Border Crossings: This and Other Worlds

November 3
Border Crossings: This and Other Worlds

November 4
Border Crossings: This and Other Worlds

November 14
Memorial Walls as Votive Sites: Tribute, Activism and Collective Memory

We are also pleased to extend complimentary need-based community tickets by request to all ticketed events. To learn more, please email[email protected].

Leading support for Public Programs at Bard Graduate Center comes from Gregory Soros and other generous donors.