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February 2019

I am thrilled to have been invited to participate in the 2019 Syracuse Symposium.  I presented TENDER R/AGE :: RABIA TIERNA in a storytelling format that must, in this case, necessarily conclude without an ending. ¡ NO CAGES :: JAULAS NO ¡ I also facilitated a workshop on the im/possibilities of art as intervention and as coalitional gesture.

licona_keynote_tender r_age

November 2018

I am thrilled to have participated in the International Forum on “Community Regeneration and Public Art,” in Chongqing, China at the Luo Zhongli Art Museum and Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. I co-presented with my friend and longtime collaborator, J. Sarah Gonzales on our community eco-arts / arts-as-intervention project titled “Altering/Altaring the Landscape: Reseeding and Resounding the Earth.”

Altaring/Altering the Landscape is conceptualized as a public arts project informed by arts-based inquiry, participatory research, public pedagogy, and decolonizing methodologies. We will draw meaningfully from cultural heritage and home knowledges as well as ecological histories to address issues of environmental and migration justice in locally relevant ways. Informed by the successes of a youth participatory action project we previously collaborated on and designed as an action-oriented project, we approach environmental art and migrant rights activism, together with spoken word, as art for social justice expressed. The local collaboration includes a social justice educator-artist and public scholar-artist. Our project will include input from a local seed librarian, archivists, and interested youth / youth of color from the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (TYPS) a group that advocates critical civic literacy and youth voice through writing, spoken-word poetry, and community performances. Through the introduction of this participatory project proposal, readers will learn about ways to collaboratively design and implement public arts projects as cultural and civic engagement and as art-as-intervention installations. Drawing from experiential knowledges, project participants will deepen their knowledge of local migration and environmental histories. They will inform and learn to co- create organic altars as public art memorializations that highlight environmental injustices and migrant deaths that are commonplace in Arizona’s borderlands. Organic altars, designed to be created with seeds from indigenous plants (including those nearly extinct due to colonization), will be placed along migration routes and in South Tucson altering the landscape through decompositions, beautification, and reseedings of shade-producing and water-harvesting plants. Altar placements will be accompanied by youth poetry performances so reseeding is initiated through their resounding words and visions.


Licona_Gonzales_SichuanFineArts_Public Art_2018

November 2018

I am thrilled to be a participating artists with the Colectivo Fronteristas organized by Bernadine Hernández and Szu-Han Ho.

We are a collective of artists who vehemently oppose the border and its practices, particularly the border and immigration policies we are seeing in this current historical moment. We understand the history of immigration in the U.S. as a history of white supremacy. Since its inception, border surveillance, migrant detention, and immigration law has always been tied to fear of “racial taint.” And it is the very political, economic, and environmental policies of the U.S. that destabilize countries of the Global South, creating the conditions under which migrants are forced to flee violence, poverty, and environmental disaster. The current administration makes blatant its white supremacist and anti-immigrant views, attempting to paint immigrants as criminals, “illegal aliens,” and animals. Colectivo Fronteristas responds to how historical immigration and border policies are affecting people migrating through and along the US-Mexico border now.

We are artists who practice and live in the border region. We are calling attention to the violent and xenophobic practices on the border and beyond through acts of disturbance. We make art that is political, disruptive, and critical of normative ideologies. Our main objective is to disrupt the deportation, detention, and surveillance machine and to abolish ICE and CBP. No ban. No wall. No cages. Especially on stolen land. Our work is performed and installed in different geopolitical spaces on the border and documented by the members of the collective. We are street, visual, and performance artists that are creating art in response to this historical immigration moment: family separations, Central American migration, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, travel ban, gender and sexual violence, and transgender bodies in detention, and further injustices. We document disturbances from each artist to continually make and remake the Colectivo Fronteristas archive. Our collective asks: How can art provoke change through direct disturbance and provocation? How can art change a geopolitical space?

Colectivo Fronteristas_2018

September 2018

Ongoing Playa Arts Residency



JUNE 2018 – Ongoing


an outcry of collective outrage


SPRING 2018 – 2019

Damned Landscapes and Layered Terrains


Arts/Activism Collaboration with photographer, Greg Bal, that uses fotos from our recent borderlands tour including some from my new series: “Damned Landscapes & Layered Terrains” series.  (Series inspired by M. Gómez-Barris’ The Extractive Zone). Forthcoming in Eithne Luibheid, Karma Chávez, and Julio Salgado’s edited collection titled Queer Migrations 2: Illegalization, Detention, and Deportation.

June 2019 :: The World Inside Out: Humor, Noise, and Performance

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University, in collaboration with the Department of Literature and Theatre of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, the University Center for Theatre, the Graduate Program in Art History, the Cátedra Bergman initiative, the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, and the Contemporary Art University Museum (MUAC) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), along with Ex Teresa Arte Actual, invite scholars, artists, and activists from all disciplines to present proposals around the theme of The World Inside Out: Humor, Noise, and Performance for our 11th Encuentro, to be held in Mexico City from June 9–15, 2019.

In the face of increasing inequality, rising authoritarianism and violence, and ongoing threats to democratic institutions, we seek to forge spaces of critical practice and creative inquiry to theorize and instrumentalize satire, humor, laughter, music, and noise in their broadest senses in order make visible, unfold, denounce, fracture, and revert the assemblages of power behind these alarming processes. As we also celebrate liberatory and democratizing victories big and small, we propose to confront both our outrage and our collective hopes by mobilizing art, action, and critique that—through aesthetic inversion, mockery, critical pirouettes, noisy denunciation, and strident celebration—can reveal, disarm, and decolonize and, at the same time, give meaning to our desires for better futures.


Please consider applying for the 2018 Hemispheric Institute Encuentro, which will take place next summer in Mexico City. Drs.Kaitlin Murhpy, Anita Huizar-Hérnandez, Kency Cornejo, and I are organizing a working group titled “Subjects Unbound/Unbordered: Arts, Migration, Resistance.” We encourage you to apply to our working group or to any that interests you!

Subjects Unbound/Unbordered: Arts, Migration, Resistance:  While the US, Mexico, and Central America’s Northern Triangle are separated by geopolitical borders, they are linked by the migratory movements and flows of people, goods, and ideas. This has long been the case, and yet our contemporary moment is marked by increasingly violent and divisive political rhetoric, widespread precarity, and deadly migratory journeys. Drawing from different regions of the U.S., Mexico, the Northern Triangle, and beyond, this work group seeks to convene artists, activists, and scholars focused on creative, political, and intellectual practices of resistance and subversion that challenge and undermine the neocolonial systems and structures that enable these rhetorical, visual, and physical violences. In the face of such extreme brutality, we are interested in exploring practices that facilitate public dialogue and engagement with the current political and ecological landscapes through subversion and satirization, revealing and imagining new points of convergence, and encouraging alternative modes of visual and sensual perception and engagement. The work group will adopt a workshop approach to both artistic and scholarly materials through creative archive and bibliographic sharing as well as site-specific exploration. Artists, activists, and scholars engaging questions of resistance and social transformation through sound, visual practice, and performance and in relation to transnational migration and human rights are especially encouraged to apply.





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