Mary Thomas Presents Paper on Billboard Series by Mario Ybarra Jr. at College Art Association Annual Conference

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Mary Thomas

At the 2016 Annual Conference of the College Art Association in Washington D.C., Mary Thomas presented a paper titled “Complex Mobilities: Billboard Art, Migration, and Latina/o Urban Visual Culture.” The paper considered how the conditions of mobility converge with the social, political, and historical contexts of migration in Mario Ybarra Jr.’s “Barrio Aesthetics” series. Installed on billboards in Mobile, Alabama in conjunction with the “Manifest Destiny Billboard Project,” ten photographs depict Los Angeles Latina/o neighborhoods. Though the larger series references the 19th-century mandate of westward expansion, by installing Barrio Aesthetics in Mobile, Alabama, Ybarra Jr. visualized a politically-enacted environment in response to anti-immigrant legislation that targeted Latinas/os.