Borders are not where we think they are.

Andrea Selene Morales Ugalde

2014 - Ongoing

It is a photographic project started in 2014, in which I explore my own migration from El Salvador to Mexico, transnationalism and intra-family violence.

I was born in San Salvador, El Salvador and I am Mexican by birth because my mom is Mexican. In 2011, after the divorce of my parents, at the age of 17 I arrived in their land, Veracruz. That was one of the most violent years for the state and I remember my mother repeating that she had returned to a dark place. Migrating in that sense, was not to change territory but to lose the floor. The project is a compilation of internal and external landscapes, of my daily life and symbolic representations of the importance of absence.

According to the 2017 report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, for 2015 it was estimated that there is an approximate of 3,100,506 Salvadorans residing abroad, representing a third of the total population of El Salvador that , for the same year, it was estimated at 6,401,415 inhabitants.

Recognizing ourselves in a new territory implies a double experience, of recognizing the territory as a foreign space and of being recognized as a foreign one, in this sense migrating is not a problem, it is a process that generates more complex societies, given that migrations are an ancient activity that occurs worldwide.

Borders are not where we think they are. This project for me is part of an adaptation process that implies an appropriation of the territory, I am interested in opening a dialogue about the alien space and the inability to take root; for in that mirror, to be able to recognize ourselves as human beings that we pass through a physical territory that shares a symbolic imaginary of home.

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  • El Salvador is affectionately called the country of hammocks because there are tremors very often. The hammock was one of the few things we brought to Mexico when we migrated.

  • When I arrived to Veracruz, that city with an ocean view, I realized that there were walls that were'nt visible. That the borders are'nt always where we think they are.

  • The relationships that were broken after we left, left us in a grief that we never assumed as such. In this photo my brother is hugging Maya.

  • A photograph of my mother in Mexico, before she migrated to El Salvador.

  • The forest as an emotional reflection on the outside of what is felt on the inside.

  • Migrating through my mom's eyes when she returned home.

  • The memories of the past in El Salvador in relation to my present in Mexico are an accumulation of sensations. I miss the sweetness of those days.

  • Psychologists told me that this deep sadness was called depression.

  • "Salvadorans are always suspects of everything," said Roque Dalton. I remember people telling me that I did not look Salvadoran, that my brother did.

  • My dad's Salvadoran passport in my diary. "Everything is a search for reality, to find the physical limits, to find the sensation of the real that we are missing".

  • Welcome to the world capital of joy.

    Metallic structure placed in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico in 2017 on the occasion of the Carnival festivities.

  • Me at my mom's altar. It has no saints, no religious figures, only photographs of my brothers and I with colored spotlights around it.

  • A letter that my best friend from El Salvador sent me on my birthday. There was already internet, but we were used to giving each other letters on paper, a year after we arrived, I threw the letters that I had brought to the sea to release the longing.

  • Mexican passports of my brothers and I make a way to the sea, in Veracruz.

  • Emerge from the roots of a broken tree.

  • Limbo is a temporary place.

  • My sister and nephew observe the jellyfish in the Veracruz aquarium.

  • My mother kept saying that she had returned to a dark place that was not the one she remembered. We arrived in 2011, a year marked by the war against drug trafficking.

  • Intervention of a photo from my passport with a file photograph of my brothers and I at Christmas.