Ethel Shipton: Los Dos Laredos y Mas

Los Dos Laredos is a space from my past. It conjures the border towns of my youth, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo. This place, now so changed, lives on in my memories and in the stories my family chooses to tell. It is a magical place, and a large one with a combined population of 775,481, together the two towns spread over 786.26 square miles. There, people moved freely back and forth across a river, between two cities, between two countries, and between two languages.

My being comes from Los Dos Laredos. Where you see both sides and you listen twice. Where anything can happen, and the things that we are told are opposite like good/bad, ugly/ beautiful, dark/light-- exist within and for each other, in close relation. Much like an accordion, Los Dos Laredos moves in and out, producing a unique and ever-changing sound.

The vantage point I occupy - of the two sides within a single experience creates a layered, complicated picture. I act as witness to these two worlds that once were one, and as a witness to this space of in-between: the border/ la Frontera. The in-between, where life-changing events have and continue to happen. Events that forever alter the way the world is seen. This intertwined history has become the present-day reality and rhetoric of borders which echoes globally.

I am grateful to be not from the edge of one place, but

from of the outer boundary of two places.

This prospective allows views that most don’t get to see: Los Dos Laredos has given me and those who inhabit this place a view of the world in all its true complexity.