Visiting artist Álvaro Enciso will discuss his work that reflects the tragedy and broken dreams that he sees while walking the Sonoran Desert during a gathering at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1 at the Missoula Art Museum. His visit coincides with the exhibition of his friend, Brian Maguire, titled In the Light of Conscience.
Enciso is an artist and humanitarian who lives in Southern Arizona and for the past decade has been working on a project called “Donde mueren los sueños” (“Where dreams die”). The project places secular crosses created by Enciso at the locations where remains of migrants have been recovered. Enciso has planted over 1,000 markers, bringing attention to the more than 4,000 people who have died in the Southern Arizona desert on their quest of the “American dream.”
“My work attempts to tell the stories of struggle, suffering, death and broken dreams that the Sonoran Desert secretly holds,” said Enciso. A native of Colombia, he moved to the U.S. as a young man, served in the Army and studied anthropology and Latin American literature. In his retirement he decided to reinvent himself as an artist.
Irish painter Brian Maguire, whose work is currently on view at MAM, befriended Enciso when he too was researching the tragedy of the many migrants who die in their attempt to cross the desert and enter the United States. One of the paintings in the Maguire exhibition at MAM, “Arizona 6, from 2021,” is from the series the artist painted commemorating fallen migrants in the Sonoran Desert.
Enciso’s art has been featured worldwide, and he shares his work and compassion through workshops and public conversations such as the event Aug. 1 at MAM. His discussion will be followed by a reception where attendees will have the opportunity to meet him and purchase one of his works of art.
All proceeds of Enciso’s art sales at the event go toward supporting his work, which includes honoring and commemorating migrants who have died in the Sonoran Desert, supporting families of those who did not arrive and encouraging others to avoid this dangerous journey.