A BOOK AS A BRIDGE ACROSS THE MEXICAN BORDER
On Sunday, December 18, I met photographer Lyndsay Bloom and Kraig Cavanaugh, a San Diego curator and art critic, at the bus ticket office, where we bought tickets and boarded the bus together.
The seats were small and the aisle was tight. After all seats were taken, many passengers had to stand and hold on the best they could. The majority of them were Mexican, traveling with family and many heavy bags down in the luggage compartment. When everybody was in and the door had closed I said: “Hello! I am an artist and I would like to make a Book as a Bridge as an act of protest against the wall Trump is planning to build at the Mexican border. I am going to start sewing now on my accordion book and by the time we will get to Tijuana the sewn line will need to stretch from the back of the bus, where I am now, to its front, having grown over the US-Mexico border from San Ysidro to Tijuana, making a bridge.”
When I finished talking I had a clear realization that the whole bus was engaged. Not everybody spoke English but the young translated for the old and soon everybody understood. The kids started passing the first page between them, first to a beautiful seven year old girl, then a ten year old boy, on and on. The first page was proudly led to the front by a young boy.
My space for operating the sewing machine was extremely tight, and often I had to rethread the machine because of the road’s sharp turns and bumps.
It took us about fifteen minutes to get to the border because of traffic. There we had to take everything out of the bus, dismount, and pass all our belongings through the metal detector. Then we were able to board again. I was the last one to dismount the bus because I needed more time to pack up, but I was surprised that everyone had waited for me to be the first to re-board the bus so I could choose the best seat.
Back on the bus I tried to set up the machine for sewing but realized there was a problem. The needle threader had been damaged at the border and I could no longer use it. I had to thread it by hand, but this was extremely difficult because of my cramped quarters. Getting very nervous after a few unsuccessful tries, I turned around and I asked two ladies to help. The youngest one understood and was able to thread the needle for me. Then we were off sewing again, up until our destination in Tijuana.