Transcending Perception is a series of public sculptures designed and created by the artists Josemar Gonzalez, and Diana Cervera that were selected to form part of San Diego’s NTC’s Installations at the Station, a former US Naval Base. The content for the pieces was generated through a series of participatory workshops featuring local poets, community leaders, multidisciplinary artists, in collaboration with The AjA Project, a San Diego based organization. 
From political cartoons to early cinema, dominant media streams have historically played a central role in crafting normalized perceptions about people and communities of color within the American imagination; furthermore, informing who is considered part of the imagined America and who is deemed other. Transcending Perception was created with the intention of ‘returning the gaze’ on both current and historical representations of those who are often excluded or misrepresented in dominant media. 
The sculptures were built between the borderlands of San Diego and Tjuana. Standing at 9 feet tall and lighting up at sunset these portals serve as a metaphor for the idea of an entry point to stories of migration, community, and identity. As the audience walks through the doors, and reads the stories, they are invited to think critically about which doors they have opened and which doors they have closed, whether physically or metaphorically.
The images and stories depicted on the doors center the faces and voices of the collaborating artists and the communities they represent.  Creating a monument of love and solidarity among them.
The workshops consisted of a political cartoon gallery walk which showcased newspaper clippings, segregation law, and executive orders.  Jim Crow Era Caricatures, EO9066, 1822 Chinese Exclusion Act, and images of Indian Boarding schools, served as analytical departure point for the group to reflect on the role of representation in shaping popular imagination and the inclusion or exclusion of communities of color within the United States both past and present. Through a series of activities, Story Circles and Mirrors and Windows the group reflected on their own lived experiences in relationship to power, struggle inclusion and exclusion. As participants shared they found entry points into the experiences of one another, common ground, and new perspective.  
*Story Circles and Mirrors and Windows: Activity developed in the 1960s by John O’ Neal, Gilbert Moses,Denise Nicholas and Doris Derby of the Free Southern Theater.  
Transcending Perception installation at Liberty Station by Josemar Gonzalez
Famo Musa
Famo Musa
Famo Musa
Famo Musa
The first sight of two smiling faces washing me with 
a ray of sunshine when I open my eyes each morning 
My love of food but my dislike of being in the kitchen 
My life is a mirror of what you see and what I want you to see 
You don’t See the artist living through her lens and the writer sharing her passion through words floating on paper. 
You don’t see my love of pink roses 
You don’t see the palm trees that is home 
The chaos and the laughter of my family 
My tendency for loving and caring too deeply for the wrong people 
The sorrow of not seeing grandmother but hearing her voice inside my head Wishing she was near me or at least pictures I can call memories on my wall shining light in my heart, you don’t see many things. 
Such as I am thoughtful and reflective 
I can be quiet unless we are familiar 
I am observant and believe in the magic of people 
I dream of a better world 
My mind is constantly brewing in the works 
To the people who don’t recognize their ignorance 
Who need a taste of how their privilege affects people 
Who don’t see the wounds they are opening every time they open their mouths
Blind to the red dripping in their presence because they believe they bleed green and blue Their loud noisy presence they force upon us even when they don’t speak.
Dj Kuttin Kandi
Dj Kuttin Kandi
Dj Kuttin Kandi
Dj Kuttin Kandi
The doors were not open as they said it would be closed shut, eyes tight 
the way 
that you looked back at me 
heavy was the gaze 
when you didnt get to be 
the tough one, the rough one 
the blue one 
hold on 
glock a nine 
cause he held an open bottled one 
31 too young 
to watch the last breath 
of a beaten drum
to understand 
this silence 
and comfortability 
of the brand 
with never returning to the aching of the rice fields 
is to know just how deeply colonialism befriended assimilation 
at the glass window 
finding its way in though 
knowing the reflection 
from its peak through 
the hint of its tyrannical hue
is too much to bare 
to carry --- 
like rain water in buckets from the top of the mountain 
cold it felt; i feel it drippin 
as it poured from the top of the head 
to the thirst of the body longing the pain 
it is then 
I am 
who am i at this moment 
when im asking you to 
meet me at the crossroads 
where they’ve called me to work 
where is this place 
I could not be seen 
damp and rusty 
like a shackling of the spirit from incarceration 25 to life 
sentenced into unjust climates 
that demanded our backs 
be of service to the fossil fuel 
the cotton plantations to the tobacco 
to the barracks at Uncle Sams 
to the transcontinental railroad 
to the fields at delano 
to the sugar cane and the bananas 
to the way i may have never known 
what it was like to be held 
have we tucked away another dream 
closed another door
should we hold such the truth 
and reminisce 
the white mans burden 
savior to the village of luzon 
because only God can save us now 
they summon 
the ones 
we’ve been waiting for 
yet time was never yours 
along border rules 
of concrete xenophobic barricades 
meant for the crashing of waves 
at the walls of its confinement 
seeping to find continuity 
because freedom is a water dance 
that sweeps over and under you 
feet buried to the sand 
as it rushes in 
to find us at the cadence of liberation 
awaiting at the tempo of the last standing rock sing chipping away at the outer shell 
of colorism 
anti Blackness be the blueprint 
to the white supremacy we be swimmin in capitalism got us diggin the digital gold they be surveilling
Snowden warned us the drones were here 
but my Lola was already at the outskirts of the fear as they rode in at the frontier 
took them to the horizon 
to disappear 
separation is the knowing 
of the mighty gripping fear 
that this would be that last time 
cuz we out here survivin 
not dreaming 
we out here surviving 
not dreaming 
I fear the battle 
we have journeyed 
to cleanse ourselves 
to nowhere 
what shall happen should we remember dare 
to look to the mirror 
decontamination of every microaggression stare wiping away every glare 
and each time we recollect 
they didnt even take notice 
to the loudness of our stance 
the boisterousness of our past 
like thunder splittin tombstones of our ancestors beseeching us to awaken to the knock 
they call me, 
I see you at the door 
I see you 
I cry 
hands towards the home we keepsake 
gliding over its iron-clad, immense opening reach as it creeks in its floor-to-ceiling invitation take leap 
to its freedom on the other side 
a word 
for every gaze looked past me 
I push 
through the wide view 
fully swung open in all its truth 
I am 
at the door
and I return the gaze upon you
Alonda RZ
Alonda RZ
Alondra RZ
Alondra RZ
I have become 
comfortable in the cold shadow
So much that at times 
I have hated the warmth of home 
I have become accustomed to the isolation
To the limits I am bound to
To having my mouth sewn shut 
To living my life in calculated steps 
with no room for error
To having each one of my movements decided for me 
To the guilt that weighs heavy on my shoulders 
To only ever dreaming about
What it is like to belong
I return the gaze upon the marks left 
by the constant longing for safety
For stability
For home
Jeff Valenzuela
Jeff Valenzuela
Jeff Valenzuela
Jeff Valenzuela
I am 
full of love. 
But not the Hallmark card type 
Bathroom art sandwiched between 
Living & Laughing 
Here to make you smile, kind of love. 
My love ignites like a molotov 
In the face of oppression. 
My love is born from resistance. 
My love is for my people. My love exists among the people. My love is rooted in the earth that birthed me. 
My love is seeking justice for those who died thirsty. 
My love is formed in the footsteps of those who keep walking in permanent solidarity. 
Arm and arm stretching beyond your border walls. 
My love is solidarity. 
They call me a threat to their national security. 
See, my solidarity looks criminal to the heartless. 
So they throw me in chains, shackled and detained 
And yet here we are, standing in solidarity regardless. 
You see, I stand for the right to lend a hand. 
You can say, I stand for the right to take a stand. 
You see, the hypocrisy is rich 
In all the fearmongering tricks 
When it’s those who hold office crying out “invasion!” 
And at the same time they got troops lined up at our southern border Firing live rounds and tear gas into a sovereign nation. 
Because I can still hear the sounds of the rubber bullets flying I looked down, a child laying 
On the ground, her mother crying. 
And the blood curdling screams as she believes her daughter’s dying. 
Because, you see, that was your government that put that gas in her lungs. Just like it was your government that planted those drugs. And just like it’s your government that’s always blastin’ the slugs That just happen to land in the backs of all the powerful ones. 
My love shines bright through the night 
Like the torch that set the fire to melt the ICE 
That continues to terrorize our gente. 
Roxana - Presente.
I am a toffee dusted truth 
With a freckle splattered history 
I am the message my ancestors sent here in a bottle 
I am bowed legs 
And straight talk 
I am hell fire 
To say the least 
Carbon pressured 
Diamond in the root 
I am southeast. 
I am story untold and unfolding 
The Blueprint 
The Ancient scrolls 
The pages they try to leave out of the re-telling 
Make telephone game of promise 
Make Puzzle of policy 
Make Pieces of humanity 
Jigsaw intersections 
Cut up like Baartman 
See whole as impossibility 
I am the back this country made flag of 
Striped red to the white meat 
White out the blood stains 
Sing anthem over the sound of clanging chain 
Noose allegiance around our throats from grade K Right hand over broken heart 
This land is still cover with trees 
That hold stories of black bodies like banner yet wave 
I am plantation purged on page 
I am freedom papers 
Write like ax to chain 
I am Inkscape 
I am press down and runaway 
I am home found in a hopeless place Grandmas hands 
Fried chicken wings and cigarettes 
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