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

Objects and items of significance to migrants that help us understand who they are and their contribution to our urban community.

Chrystin Sanchez

September 2016

Saint shrines draw on immigrant cultural traditions to protect home and family.

Cynthia Canez

November 2016

Mercado de Las Artes at the Heard Museum shows us that without immigrants and their influences, there is little doubt that much of the beauty and symbolism incorporated in art would not be in America today.

José Grijalva

March 2017

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.

Ileen Younan

May 2017


Eye-shaped amulets that protect against the evil eye can be found at Curiosidades Mexico Lindo, a small shop waiting to be discovered within Mercado de Los Cielos in Desert Sky Mall. Like the Mexican and other Latin American immigrants living in Maryvale, these amulets have been carried to many cultures along the global currents of empire and migration.

Hussein Mohamed

April 2017


Mexican immigrant Gustavo Angeles threw himself into the local Phoenix music scene when he arrived here in 1994. Watch him play his unique blend of classic rock, Mexican, and Spanish guitar, and speak about his music in this short film by Hussein.

Sanhareb Nano

March 2018


This curated series of exceptionally colorful tire shops, or llanteras, shows the growing presence of shared Mexican culture across metro Phoenix. The clientele is largely of Mexican or Latino descent, often from a family of first or second-generation immigrants.

See Sanhareb's video of this story created for Displacements, a virtual conference sponsored by the Society for Cultural Anthropology & the Society for Visual Anthropology, April 19-21, 2018.

Yerena Hernandez

April 2018


Visit Phoenix's third annual Colombian Festival for a taste of a Latino/a migrant diaspora that refuses to be overlooked. Colombian traditions of food, dance, society and daily life icons such as "La Chiva" bus, link Colombians to their homeland.