Enrique Chagoya’s newest print La Bestia’s Guide to the Birth of the Cool, is the twelfth in a series of codices made at Shark’s Ink.
Chagoya states: The concept of this particular codex is in direct response to the conservative xenophobia triggered by recent border crossings by thousands of unaccompanied children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. I chose to symbolically portray the train known as La Bestia (The Beast, due to the fact that there are many accidents and fatalities during the trip), that travels from southern Mexico and up through the border with Texas.
This country was created not just by immigration, but rather by illegal immigration, from the Pilgrims and Conquistadors to the recent immigrants from the Americas, Africa and Asia. At the end there is a legalization process, new cultures emerge and America benefits from the richness of the diversity of arts (music, visual, dance, literature), food, costumes, mythologies, etc.
The images in La Bestia’s Guide to the Birth of the Cool are juxtaposed with modernist paintings happily celebrating the immigrants’ acceptance into American culture. Diversity in my book is a wealth of culture, not a threat, hence the celebration on the last page.
La Bestia’s Guide to the Birth of the Cool is a ten color lithograph with chine collé and gold metalllic powder on hand made Amate paper printed in an edition of 30, plus proofs. The codex measures 8¼ x 92 inches.