September 6 – October 9, 2019

Roll Up Project is pleased to present two sculptures by Aida Gamez. Gamez’s arkworks range from highly detailed drawings to abstract sculptures, and all encourage an introspective moment in the viewer. Gamez explains: “my work strives to express the inadequacy of perceptions built solely upon appearances and first impressions.”

This concept flows through Gamez’s most recent work, which reflects on the crisis at the U.S. border. Water Stations, 2019 is a mixed media sculpture with abstract shapes and text including: “3,002 migrant deaths”; “What did you bring back from Mexico I brought back pan dulce and these Kennedy heads”; “Yo se que estas Trieste” (I know you’re sad); “sabes extrano mucho” (you know I miss a lot); and “no olvidado” (not forgotten). At the center, arrows point to a cluster of numbers labeled John Does and Jane Does. The viewer is left to consider the ID numbers and the real people they represent. Taken as a whole, this piece is a powerful reminder to look beyond the headlines and consider the individual lives and struggles of people crossing the border.

The data in this artwork was based on information from the nonprofit Humane Borders, which collected data on 3,002 migrant deaths between 1999 and 2016 along the southern border, and installed water stations at strategic points in remote areas of the Sonoran Desert.

Untitled, 2017, on view in the Third Street windows, is an example of Gamez’s ongoing investigation into creating abstract work with layers of meaning. From one perspective, Untitled is an abstract composition with brightly colored lines and dots appliqued on a neutral background. From another, it is a map with borders or paths, and dots representing people or landmarks. The wrinkled background is reminiscent of a well-worn map held by many hands.

Aida Gamez is an artist and educator based in Berkeley, California. Her work explores identification, perception, and first impressions. Gamez’s work has been exhibited at Transmission Gallery, b. sakata Garo, the Bedford Gallery, Worth Ryder Gallery at UC Berkeley, Fuller Museum of Art, and Galeria de la Raza, among others. She has curated exhibitions including “Homegrown: Fields of Califas” and “Latin American Prints.” Gamez holds a BFA from the California College of Arts and an MFA from UC Berkeley. She currently teaches drawing at UC Berkeley and Diablo Valley College.

Learn more about her work at


Water Stations, 2019
mixed media
95 x 112 inches


Untitled, 2017
mixed media
87 x 84 inches