Alumni Update: Julie Combal (Class of 2004)

Hello from Puebla! I am currently on a one month artist residency program at the Arquetopia Foundation for Development ( in Puebla, Mexico.

The city of Puebla is located 75 miles southeast of Mexico City, and in 1987 the historic downdown was named a UNESCO world heritage center. Puebla is known for its mole poblano, talavera pottery and Colonial architecture. It`s a beautiful city with fantasitic markets and food.

The Arquetopia Foundation for Development is an organization that offers artist residencies while promoting social development and transformation through various programs. The Foundation has provided me with a one month artist production residency to develop a body of work to explore the city`s river communities relationship to the Atoyac river (the main river here in Puebla).

Over the past 20-30 years the Atoyac has become polluted with community and industrial chemical dumping, filling the river with sewage (aguas negras) and toxic waste. Although the river is highly polluted, residents continue to live by the riverside. For the past few weeks I have been interviewing residents about their past and present experiences of living near the Atoyac and their wishes for the river in the future. My work is taking form in several projects (including a photo essay, paintings and performances by the riverside) combining the statements of the residents and the river itself so as to metaphorically bring the two into discussion about the issue of pollution.

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