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Cortado: Artistas inmigrantes dejan su huella en Iowa City


Courtesy of Choche Hurtado

Iowa City podría ser vista como una ciudad de tránsito, una ciudad aeropuerto, en la que uno solo está de paso, entre uno y cuatro años, para luego mandarse a cambiar a otra ciudad distinta, dentro o fuera de los Estados Unidos. Y este rasgo de Iowa City se debe a la Universidad de Iowa, que hace a esta ciudad un college town.

En este fluir de personas que van y vienen es que conocí a Choche Hurtado (España) y a Carlos del Aguila (Perú). Ellos no vinieron a Iowa City en busca de un pedigrí académico, sino más bien llegaron con el propósito de acompañar a sus parejas por todo el tiempo que durara sus respectivos programas de posgrado en la Universidad de Iowa. Y, por supuesto, también para conocer este enorme y diverso país.

Historias como las de Choche y Carlos son las de una forma particular de migrar. Y, por cierto, no exenta de dificultades y desafíos. Por ejemplo: aprender el idioma inglés que, como muchos saben, es la puerta de entrada para integrarse a la sociedad americana. Pero hay otra dificultad más, que tal vez sea la más ardua de todas, y que consiste en ajustar el ritmo de vida dentro de los parámetros que impone la autoridad migratoria de los Estados Unidos. Una de estas limitaciones es no poder trabajar en este país bajo ninguna circunstancia. Por lo que vivir aquí resulta, en términos económicos, más una desventaja que una ventaja. A menos que uno tenga rentas y regalías aseguradas en su país de origen.

Uno podría pensar que estos dos inmigrantes simplemente pasaron por Iowa City. Esperaron uno o dos años y luego se marcharon de esta ciudad. Pero este no es su caso. A pesar de las restricciones burocráticas mencionadas, ellos han podido hacer muchas cosas en y para esta ciudad. El estar lejos de casa no ha detenido su talento y su creatividad. Menos el poder compartirla con los demás.

Allí están las ilustraciones de Choche. Casonas antiguas de Iowa City con colores vivos y hombrecillos tratando de zafarse de estas. Como si las casas fueran una camiseta o un traje especial. (Una de las ilustraciones de Choche fue seleccionada en el concurso “Art Purchase Prize,” organizado por la Biblioteca Pública de Iowa City).

Allí están esos lugares donde aún se escucha el eco de aquellas canciones de José Escajadillo, Cecilia Barraza, Lucia de la Cruz, que Carlos puso en reuniones de amigos. Incluso compartió detalles de este género musical llamado “música criolla.” Y, probablemente, hoy más de uno en Iowa City sepa que en el Perú además de la hermosa y nostálgica música andina, también hay música criolla, festejo, marinera, que se toca y baila, especialmente, en la costa peruana.

Con esta forma particular de migrar queda claro que uno no llega a un lugar, sino más bien pasa por el mismo. Y en el recorrido deja una pequeña huella. Al menos así lo hicieron estos dos viajeros empedernidos por su paso por Iowa City.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 308.

Immigrants make their mark on Iowa City

Translated by Allison Stickley

Iowa City could be considered a transitory city, an airport city, a city you just pass through, staying maybe one to four years, then later moving to a different city somewhere else in the United States or maybe somewhere else. And this characteristic of Iowa City is thanks to the University of Iowa, which makes this city a college town.

In this flow of people that come and go is how I met Choche Hurtado (Spain) and Carlos del Aguila (Perú). They didn’t come to Iowa City looking for an academic pedigree, but rather they arrived with the intention of accompanying their partners during their respective postgraduate programs at the University of Iowa, and of course they also wanted to see this enormous and diverse country.

Stories like Choche’s and Carlos’ are those of a particular form of migration, and certainly not exempt from difficulties and challenges. For example: learning English is, as many know, the entrance door to integrate into American society. But there is another difficulty – perhaps the most arduous of all – consisting of adjusting to the rhythm of life within the parameters that US immigration authorities impose. One of the limitations is not being able to work in this country for any reason. So that living here results, in economic terms, more of a disadvantage than an advantage, unless you’ve secured income and assets in you country of origin.

You might think that these two immigrants just passed through Iowa City, that they wait a year or two and then move on. But this isn’t the case. Despite the bureaucratic restrictions mentioned, they have been able to do a lot of things in — and for — this city. Being far from home hasn’t stopped their talent and creativity and even less their ability to share it with everyone.

There are Choche’s illustrations of Iowa City’s big, old houses with bright colors and little men trying to wiggle out of them, as if the house were a special shirt or suit. (One of Choche’s illustrations was even selected for the Art Purchase Prize, organized by the Iowa City Public Library.)

There are also the places where you can still hear the echo of José Escajadillo, Cecilia Barraza, and Lucia de la Cruz, songs that Carlos played for friends at get togethers. He even shared details of a genre of music called música criolla. And now probably more than one person in Iowa City knows that in Peru, in addition to the beautiful and nostalgic Andian music, there is also música criolla, festive and seaworthy, particularly popular on the Peruvian coast.

With this particular form of immigration it’s clear that you don’t arrive at a place, but rather you pass through it, leaving a small imprint along the way. At least that’s what these two die-hard travelers did during their pass through Iowa City.


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