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2018 Northern Exposure participant Saulo Cisneros, photo: ©Antoine Didienne

2018 Northern Exposure participant Saulo Cisneros, photo: ©Antoine Didienne

Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure is a scholarship program that brings five artists from Mexican border states to the Medium Review. Funded through our Giving Tuesday campaign, we are proud to welcome artists from Baja California Norte and Chihuahua to the 2019 Medium Festival of Photography. Submissions were reviewed by Hamidah Glasgow, Carol Lee Pryor, and Philipp Scholz Rittermann.

Participating Artists

The artists selected for the 2019 Northern Exposure scholarships include Mónica Arreola, Samahil Borbon, Liliana Hueso, Ingrid Leyva, and Julio M. Romero. Each artist will participate in the Open Portfolio Walk on Thursday, October 17 from 5-8pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Mónica Arreola, Tijuana, Baja California Norte


Mónica Arreola’s art practice and photographs relate to the city, architecture, urban planning and her personal / intimate life. The photographs she builds are documents that show a particular condition of the border city she inhabits. Topics such as abandonment, absence, geography, limit, time, social, economic and family are recurring in her work. Her most recent photos series “Desinterés Social” shows the real estate collapse of multifamily housing in Tijuana.

Mónica has a degree in architecture, a Master’s degree in modern and contemporary art and studies in curatorship. Her work has been exhibited in Mexico, the United States and Spain; and published in magazines such as La Tempestad, Tierra Adentro, Origina, ZOOM and Ojo de Pez. Her photographs are part of the collections of CECUT, ICBC and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Elias + Fontes Collection, and the Hugo Lugo Collection.

Mónica obtained first place in the VI and IX Biennial of Photography of the State of Baja California, Mexico. She is currently the Co-director of the independent space 206 arte contemporáneo.

Samahil Borbón Ojeda, Tijuana, Baja California Norte


Samahil Borbón’s work with photography comes from her approach the landscape and the creation of atmosphere that abstracts reality. Samahil’s interactions with the social environment draw raw material from the quotidian nature of everyday life, seeking a kind of alchemy that reveals its possibilities.

Her work has received support from PECDA BC (Baja California Program for the Encouragement to the Creation and Artistic Development) in 2014 - 2015, and PROART (Encouragement Program for Art Production) in 2016, which belongs to the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT). Along with a degree in Communication Science,  Samahil has participated in cinema and photography workshops and courses, taught by renowned cinematographers and artists from across Mexico, including like Elías Marin Govea, Carolina Amador Bech, and Maya Goded, among others. 

Her photo series called “Come… come” was selected and displayed at the 4th Entijuanarte Festival, an annual art event celebrated in Tijuana, Baja California. Samahil’s series called “Haciendo línea” (Queuing in the border line) was exhibited in La Border Curios: exploración de las líneas fronterizas (The Border Curios: an exploration of the border lines), an art event arranged by Relaciones Inesperadas and the Goethe Institut.

Samahil currently lives and works in Tijuana.

Liliana Hueso, Playas de Tijuana, Baja California Norte


Liliana Hueso is a queer bi-national bilingual college professor, media educator, accomplished filmmaker, photographer, and activist. She has extensive experience in teaching media, facilitating workshops, and organizing film screenings and photo exhibitions on both sides of the border. Liliana’s work has been exhibited in various bi-national conferences, film events and galleries. As a border artist, her work provides a unique perspective revealed in the storytelling quality of her photos.

Ingrid Leyva, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua


Ingrid Leyva is a transborder artist from El Paso and Cd. Juarez that has been developing her ability for portraiture in order to explore her own identity and the one of the world around her. In one of her ongoing projects, she has constructed a collective portrait of the #MexicanShoppers in their way back to Mexico after shopping in United States. 

She has studied in Escuela Activa de Fotografia in Mexico City and has led several workshops focused in portraiture and filmmaking. Her work has been shown individually in Mexico City and collectively in states such as Chihuahua, Texas, New York, Guadalajara, and California. She was part of the last Transborder Biennial and one of her portraits belongs to the permanent collection at El Paso Museum of Art.

Photo courtesy Alexia Webster

Photo courtesy Alexia Webster

Julio M. Romero, Tijuana, Baja California Norte


Julio M. Romero is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the boundaries between photography, video and sculpture, by documenting everyday situations and transmuting them in visual testimonies about the aftermath of a consumerist society, examining the overproduction of images, pop culture elements and the sociopolitical impact of mediatization. He studied at San Francisco Art Institute and the Visual Arts Academy in Mexico City.

Julio has exhibited in Canada, China, United States, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and Japan. His work has received several awards and recognition such as: Acquisition prize at the XIV Northwesth Visual Arts Biennial, Mexico, (2013), Honorable Mention at the International Photography Awards, in Los Angeles CA, Acquisition prize at the 5th National Visual Arts Biennial “Miradas” Mexico, (2012) and the prestigious Young Creators Grant by the National Fund for the Arts Mexico, (2012).

His work is part of the following collections: the Sinaloa Cultural Institute, CODET foundation, the Elías Fontes Collection, Hidalgo State University, and Universidad Iberoamericana, among others.

Julio currently lives and works in his hometown Tijuana.