“Inequality is a spur to violence […] inequality weakens the inhibitions against aggression. It legitimates violence toward people considered worthless, and those who are made to feel of scant value sometimes resort to violence to gain self-respect or power.”

Since 2000, Mexico and the US have intensified efforts to detain and deport irregular migrants through increased law enforcement efforts and the proliferation of an extensive network of road checkpoints across the country. Increased border control enforcement has been largely unsuccessful in stemming the migration flow, instead making the trajectory more dangerous by marginalising migrants to hazardous routes and vulnerability their vulnerability to abuse. Despite over a million embarking on this journey each year, the stories of their trajectories go unheard – this journey, like their lives, remain largely hidden from view.

‘Transitory’ charts the journeys of undocumented Central American migrants as they make their way to the US. The work is the result of a collaboration with ‘Estancia del Migrante González y Martínez’ and the migrant communities it supports through basic needs provision. Over a 5-month residency, Kate worked the local organisation based in Queretaro, Mexico and built relationships with the individuals from Central America who accessed its support, to explore representations, personal journeys and alternative narratives. 

The project produced resources to support Estancia del Migrante’s ongoing work and was exhibited in a series of public exhibitions and engagement events in Mexico, raising awareness and challenging local perceptions of undocumented migrants, who are more often defined through negative media stereotyping and discriminative governmental policies, or simply ignored. 

The resulting work seeks to provide an alternative perspective and human face to a section of society largely presented as ‘illegal’ and defined by parochial statistics.

Transitory was exhibited by Amnesty International at the Human Rights Centre in 2014 as part of their public programme on undocumented migration.