Mapping Skin Deep

Artist : Claudia Espinosa Ramos
Location : Montreal, Canada
Year of Completion: 2014
Researcher : Megan Guerber

Mapping Skin Deep is an audio-visual project publicly installed from March 1-16, 2014, in the metro station Place d’Armes as part of Montreal’s Art Souterrain Festival. In Mapping Skin Deep, CERRUCHA (Claudia Espinosa Ramos) exhibited portraits and stories of refugees and immigrants from Mexico, Tibet, Iran, Ethiopia, Colombia, Haiti, Cameroon, and El Salvador. Each classic black and white portrait was modified in post-production to add a scar to the body of the subject, tracing her or his mapped path to Canada. The severity of the scars is varied to reflect the impact that the distinct journeys and experiences had on the life of each person. The portraits are accompanied by audio recordings of interviews describingmemories, expectations, challenges, legal fears, and insights.

In this manner, the project also counters assertions that immigration represents a burden, emphasizing not only the economic contributions of immigrants, but also the distinct insights and attributes brought to the larger community by each person.


Mexican artist CERRUCHA (Claudia Espinosa Ramos), who resides both in Mexico and Canada, began the Mapping Skin Deep series in late 2013 in response to her own experiences as an immigrant and the xenophobia she has faced. Those interviewed are people she has found through social connections and with the help of Casa Los Amigos in Mexico.

The project is self-funded and self-directed. Festival Art Souterrain paid for the photographs to be printed for their exhibition. The project was submitted by the artist during their open call for works.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency