September 11 – November 16, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 8, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Curators: Califas is guest co-curated by UC Berkeley professors Michael Dear, author of Why Walls Won’t Work, and Ronald Rael, author of Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico Boundary.

Califas: Art of the US-Mexico Borderlands explores representations of the US-Mexico ‘borderlands’ in contemporary art, with a special emphasis on the Bay Area.

This exhibition comes at a moment when the current nationwide immigration crisis has once again focused attention on the border between Mexico and the United States. Californian communities, activists, politicians, and artists have been especially vocal in this crisis.

Featuring works by 21 contemporary artists and collaborative groups, Califas explores the origins of migrant memory, the consequences of boundary line fortifications, the mixing of border cultures, responses to injustice and inequality, and solutions to advance the borderlands and its peoples.

The exhibition adopts a unique lens to re-examine the past, grapple with understanding the present, and connect with the future of a distinct cross-border culture. The name Califas is commonly used to refer to California by Chicanos wishing to emphasize the deep histories, memories, and identities that existed in the state long before the international boundary was created in 1848. Adapted for use in this exhibition, Califas provides new ways of seeing California and Baja California – as borderlands before walls, when people understood the border as a connecting tissue not a line of separation.

Featured Artists: AGENCY, Chester Arnold, Enrique Chagoya, CRO studio (Adriana Cuellar & Marcel Sánchez), Dignidad Rebelde, Ana Teresa Fernández, Nathan Friedman, Guillermo Galindo, Rebeca García-González, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Richard Misrach, Alejandro ‘Luperca’ Morales, Julio César Morales, Postcommodity, Rael San Fratello, Fernando Reyes, Favianna Rodriguez, Stephanie Syjuco, David Taylor, Judi Werthein, Rio Yañez.

Information: For more information about the Richmond Art Center’s Exhibitions and programs, please visit: