José Grijalva

v i s u a l i z i n g   i m m i g r a n t   P h o e n i x


When considering my major is Forensics, one might think that it has no overlap with Social Anthropology. However, these two disciplines do share a commonality of being a subsection of science. In Visualizing Immigrant Phoenix, my analytical and objective mindset would instill more of the core science values and legitimacy. I grew up in a border town, so in addition to my academics, I’m also fluent in Spanish, which is useful considering Phoenix’s large Hispanic community. As an Arizona native I want to be a part of displaying Arizona as the great home that it is.

“If the Boot fits…”

Pointy Boots and 'Tribal' Style Cross the Border


An elongated toe boot sold at the Mercado de los Cielos (aka Desert Sky Mall) reminds us—with a sartorial twist—that the Mexican cowboy too holds iconic status in the southwest borderlands. Mexican pointy boots are worn with skinny jeans by dance crews who perform choreographed steps to a recent style of Mexican music called Tribal, mixing pre-Hispanic and African sounds with Cumbia baselines. The pointy boot is an element of Mexican subcultural style that has easily crossed the border to manifest its destiny here in transnationalized Phoenix.

Iraqi Immigrants Make a Home in Phoenix?

Just as it is the people that make a home, our little piece of Arizona is shaped by those who now live here, including Iraqi immigrant families like Noor’s. Jose relished the mountains of food and lively chit chat at the weekly gathering at Noor's family's home.

A Bordertown Square in the Heart of Phoenix

José's curated photo set takes us through the swap-meet style shops at the Mercado de los Cielos, a Mexican makeover of a defunct anchor store at the Desert Sky Mall. The erstwhile lobby is set up like a Mexican town square, with park bench seating around a large raised stage for weekend performances of ballet folklorico. The Mexican traditional dances bring a bordertown show to the heart of Phoenix.