Founded in 2011, SEMAP seeks to shift the relationship between the people of SEM/EM and the physical spaces they inhabit by using art to foster agency, ownership, and grassroots democracy. In the last seven years, we have hosted pop-up art galleries, site-specific performances and installations, literary readings at public parks and libraries, art/history bike tours, and made original art, including a mural. “East of East: Mapping Community Narratives in South El Monte and El Monte” is our biggest and most recent project, combining art, public history, and journalism to create historical knowledge about these two working-class cities.
Burn the Wagon (Mexico City: La Casa de El Hijo Del Ahuizote, 2017)In Burn the Wagon: Writings from Greater El Monte, local authors and photographers respond to El Monte’s official pioneer narrative. The poems, prose, and images reflect a deep desire to engage and challenge dominant historical narratives, as well as a refusal to be overlooked. Collectively, these stories map Greater El Monte from below, from its street corners and local neighborhoods.