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Artist Agathe Snow opened Coyote Ugly, her four-part performance examining the lives of undocumented immigrants at Albertz Benda on September 12, 16, 19, and 23. During each performance, viewers were taken on an emotional rollercoaster as they peeked through holes of a makeshift maze of immigration-related mixed media to get a glimpse of interviews between Snow and a variety of guests. Created to make the viewer feel like an outsider looking in (as an immigrant would), stories of the anticipation of arrival, to the harsh and difficult realities of American immigration were shared.
Once an undocumented immigrant herself, Snow endured similar struggles to the stories of people she spoke with. “I feel so overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start, from what angle to approach it? Who to reach? To speak to?” Relating these feelings of fear and confusion, Snow felt it important to get across that she wasn’t the only one that dealt with the difficulties of being an undocumented immigrant. At one performance, a man shared the fact that although he is on the organ donor’s list, as an undocumented immigrant he can’t receive an organ. At another, a woman who fled Cambodia as a child refugee spoke of how she endured racism and identity struggles once arriving in America. With “Coyote Ugly,” Snow sheds light on the people who have gone through so much only to be left in the dark.
Throughout the performances, it is clear to see that while everyone might have had different struggles, and different hopes for their own version of the American dream, they each shared the same drive, passion, and perseverance. And despite the hardships they have had to go through, they wouldn’t choose to go back to where they came from. “I am certain that nowhere else in the world would I have been able to live this life,” said Snow.