"During my trip, I learned that in Latin American culture, hummingbirds symbolize strength, hope and migration. I knew that I wanted to use that symbol in my paintings when I got home."
TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman interviews Portland artist Janie Lowe on her travels along the US/Mexico border and the artwork that resulted from her journey. Explore paintings from Janie's Borderland Stories collection as you listen.
In May of 2019, Janie traveled from her home in Portland to get a first-hand view of the people and the environment along the border between Texas and Mexico. Her travels took her from Brownsville to El Paso, donating supplies and volunteering at respite centers, visiting with landowners, and seeking to understand and capture the struggle for survival along the Rio Grande river.
Janie discusses the efforts underway to construct a wall along the border and how the wall will impact residents, migrants, and the environment. "The closer we got to the wall, the more opposition there was to it. I didn't talk to one person on the border that thought it was a good idea to put the wall up and that it would do any good at all."
She shares how what she observed surprised her, saying, "I think that I expected to go down there and be heartbroken and see all this injustice, but you don't see people rushing over the river, you don't see this rush of people. You don't see the detention centers. What I did not expect was the hope that I saw and felt. That ordinary people step in and do what needs to be done for humanitarian purposes, just to help people out. People will step in and do things where the government has failed."