Erick Medel (Los Angeles, CA) 

April 2019. Museum collection and found textiles. 49” x 52” in.

El Coyote As A Protector was inspired by the artist’s body of work— in his current Homeland series, Medel explores themes related to Mexico-US border issues, migration, and American identity. This textile work uses humor to visualize the experience of an immigrant seeking opportunity and question the difficult and complex topic of “illegal” border crossings.

As a response to contemporary Latinx art and the need for narratives by and for immigrants, the artist appropriates the cartoon “Wile E. Coyote” as one of the featured quilted protagonists— the term Coyote in Spanish is used throughout Mexico and Central America to define guides and smugglers who lead immigrants across the border. In his mouth, El Coyote carries and protects the Pollito (Chick in Spanish, colloquial term for the immigrants crossing with a Coyote). The pink character on the top right leaves his exclamation up to interpretation— he is based on a museum collection print of “Elmer Fudd” reflecting present day xenophobia, racism, and a fear of others coming into the country. El Coyote hangs on display by Elsewhere’s invisible institutional threshold and border: the front door.


Process

Above: Medel sews together patches onto the background tapestry.