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The place where
the clouds are

Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ

The Place Where Clouds Are Formed, a collaborative project initiated in 2018 by Ofelia Zepeda (Tohono O’odham), Gareth Smit, and Martín Zícari will open its fifth installment on April 6, 2024, simultaneously at the University of Arizona Poetry Center and the Center for Creative Photography’s Alice Chaiten Baker Interdisciplinary Gallery. The project features photography made in partnership with the Traditional O’odham Leaders (TOL) and communities from villages in Quitovac, Cu:wĭ I-ge:sk (San Francisquito), and Sonoyta—towns located in Sonora, Mexico—as well as Quitobaquito and the surrounding lands in Southern Arizona. Images and sculptures are in conversation with poems written and recorded in O’odham and English and translated into Spanish. 

The Place Where Clouds Are Formed is an interdisciplinary arts collective that examines the intersection of spirituality, migration, and current and historical policies that have impacted the borderlands of the Sonoran Desert. This work aims to reorient narratives of this place away from the U.S.–Mexico border and geopolitical concerns and towards the genealogical stories and religious and cultural traditions of those who live and migrate here. 

Through word, object, and image, The Place Where Clouds Are Formed disrupts “crisis” narratives of the border, replacing myths of the nation-state with narratives about the lived experiences of borderland communities.

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