Activism

Queer undocumented artist Julio Salgado speaks out

Artists often choose to take big risks: In 1971, Chris Burden made art history when he had his assistant shoot him in the arm; just last November, Petr Pavlensky nailed his scrotum to Moscow's Red Square cobblestones. These artists' transgressions were aesthetic choices; when Julio Salgado, who migrated to the United States from Mexico when he was eleven, creates art, his choices go further. When he dares to illustrate his experience as an undocumented, queer person living in the United States, he risks arrest and deportation for existing on this side of the border without state-sanctioned papers. To Salgado, the risk is worth it. The very same activists who inspired him to come out of the closet as both queer and undocumented have used his posters in migrant justice campaigns across the United States. Westword spoke with Salgado about his story, his art and his free workshop, Undocuqueer Voices: Stories of Growing Up Queer and Undocumented, which he will lead with with poet Yosimar Reyes on March 18 in Boulder. See also: Immigration activists deliver photos to ICE detainees
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris