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 Bicycles on the Border: Fernando Traverso

Fernando Traverso
Fernando Traverso (Argentina, 1951) became active as an artist during the military dictatorship in Argentina. He worked in the resistance movement in his hometown of Rosario until he was forced to go into exile. During that time many members of Argentinean society were “disappeared”. Human rights groups put the total number of disappeared during Argentina’s “Dirty War” at 30,000.  350 were reported to have disappeared from Rosario alone, Traverso counted 29 of them as close friends.
Bicycles were a common form of travel for members of the resistance. An abandoned bicycle was often the first sign that its owner had been kidnapped, or disappeared. Traverso’s previous work with the bicycle image can be seen on his website www.00350.com.ar.

Bicycles on the Border
Fernando Traverso visited the border from May 25, 2009, through June 1, 2009 as the inaugural event for the exhibition The Disappeared, which will be exhibited from June 18th – September 11th at the Rubin Center, the Centennial Museum, and the Union Exhibition Gallery all on the Campus of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). His visit was generously funded by the Rubin Center Director’s Circle. 
He began his visit with two introductory workshops, one on the campus of the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez (UACJ) and the other on the campus of UTEP. During these workshops Traverso shared his work with the students and, along with Rubin Center Assistant Director Kerry Doyle and UACJ Visual Arts Professor Leon de la Rosa, came up with an action using the bikes that responds to the current border reality.
During two daylong workshops, one in Juarez and one in El Paso, groups of students and community members gathered to print scores of bikes on large fabric banners. Participants were invited to take the banners with them, and in doing so made a commitment to take a photo of the banner in a place on the border that evokes the ideas of disappearance, loss or injustice that underlie Traverso’s work. These pictures will be compiled on this website as a visual exploration of the contemporary border reality.


University of Texas at El Paso Dept. of Art • 500 W. University • El Paso, TX 79968 • 915.747.5181
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