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A photo exhibition by former LA Times photojournalist, Don Bartletti, documenting Central American stowaways on Mexican freight trains. Bartletti shares stories from his 30-plus year career.
Join us Friday, October 5, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm for the opening of “Enrique’s Journey,” a photo exhibition by former LA Times photojournalist, Don Bartletti, documenting Central American stowaways on Mexican freight trains. Bartletti will share stories from his 30-plus year career as a photojournalist. The exhibit opens October 5 and runs through December 28, 2018 at the New Mexico Humanities Council, 4115 Silver SE, Albuquerque. Visitors are welcome Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
In the vast migration that’s changing the face of America, thousands of Central Americans annually attempt a harrowing 1,500-mile journey through the length of Mexico on the tops of freight trains.
Nearly all are visited by cruelty, hunger and fatigue. Stowaways call the unscheduled train they run to catch “La Bestia” or The Beast. Some are maimed or killed by the iron wheels. In the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mara Salvatrucha gangsters, corrupt immigration and police officers and opportunist citizens hunt them like animals. By contrast, in the state of Veracruz trackside residents throw gifts of food, water and clothing to migrants as the train passes by.
Among these migrants are children as young as 12 who travel alone. Most are trying to find parents – usually mothers - who left them behind years ago to work in the U.S. For children, the dream of reunification becomes the quest for the Holy Grail. Success comes only to the brave and the lucky.
In 2003, Bartletti’s six-part photo essay in the Los Angeles Times, “Enrique’s Journey” was awarded a Pulitzer for Feature Photography. Bartletti was the first U.S. photojournalist to document the ongoing Central American diaspora of children clinging to freight trains and their dreams of crossing into the U.S.
Bartletti has an interesting New Mexico connection, too. In 2003, he was assigned to photograph legendary New Mexico author, Tony Hillerman, for a Los Angeles Times Travel Section story written by Hillerman. Bartletti will share with exhibit reception guests his wild adventure in the Sandia Foothills capturing the portrait of a New Mexico treasure.
Enrique’s Journey exhibition is part of the "Democracy and the Informed Citizen" initiative, which is administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The series is aimed at deepening the public's knowledge and appreciation of the interconnections joining democracy, the humanities, journalism and an informed citizenry.
Special thanks go to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its generous support of the initiative and to the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership. Thanks, too, to the City of Albuquerque's KiMo Theatre as a major sponsor of the series.