Artist gives life to Ciudad Juarez homicide victims



By: Cassidy Herrington

Diane Kahlo is an artist and magician.

In her exhibit “Wall of Memories,” she brings 100 women, who were murdered in Ciudad Juarez, back to life.

The display consumes the space of the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art. Incense penetrates the air, candles flicker, and the golden hue of religious icons and coffins casts a funereal glow.

Her art converts the gallery into a living Mexican cemetery — and with a particular goal in mind.

“Awareness,” Kahlo said.

The installation is a mixed-media venture aimed at bringing interest and awareness to the murders in Ciudad Juarez. Kahlo’s hopes give a face to the women who were murdered by gangs and drug lords in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border city across from El Paso, Texas.

One hundred tiny portraits, echoing Catholic icons, hang on the walls. Each painting represents one out of the nearly 400 women killed in the ongoing “femicide.” Diane impressed each woman’s name into the miniature wooden frames.

“You have to get close to see them,” Kahlo said.

The exhibit opens Monday at 5 p.m. and continues until Nov. 4, which appropriately falls near the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Kahlo will introduce her collection at Monday’s opening night. She hopes to incite an interdisciplinary dialogue about the mass murders.

“In history, portraiture has been reserved only for the wealthy and noble,” Kahlo said. “I decided these are chicas, or girls, who are not even valued in death, and the murderers went unpunished. I wanted to immortalize the women.”

If You Go

What: “Wall of Memories” exhibit

When: (Opening) Monday 5 to 8 p.m. (Runs) Tuesday – Thursday 3 to 6 p.m. until Nov. 4

Where: Tuska Center for Contemporary Art, UK Fine Arts Building

Admission: Free