From Gestures for a Plague Season 20/21

Nicole Antebi she/her(s) is an animator/filmmaker who makes things that move, loop, and sometimes hold. She came of age on the northwest bank of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo on the El Paso/Juárez border. The importance of movement as it concerns the dignity of people and rivers was a formative part of her childhood and the foundation of the work she does today. She is an assistant professor of Illustration and Animation at The University of Arizona and previously taught at CUNY Queens College, SUNY Albany, and 2019 she was a visiting professor at la Universidad de las Américas, Puebla.

She is currently working in collaboration on an animated documentary about the Duranguito neighborhood of El Paso, Texas. And a second animated documentary, generously supportedy by the Andrew W. Mellon Digital Borderland’s Grant, made in collaboration with Victoria Blanco, Irene Baqué, the Rarámuri dressmakers of Chihuahua City, tells their story of forced migration from Mexico’s Northern Sierra Madre Mountains and how the process of dress making, wearing, and betting upholds the Rarámur identity and resists assimilation. 

She is also in the process of finalizing a four-part web series about the history, science, tools, and future of vaccines and viruses for The American Museum of Natural History with generous support from The City of New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

Her interest in the movement, history, and mythology of Water in the West originated with her upbringing in El Paso, Texas.  Before she knew the history of the 1963 Chamizal Convention which would ultimately channelize and permanently fix a portion of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo as the official border between the United States and Mexico and before she knew that rivers change course and therefore make unstable boundaries, she was aware, from a young age, that the fluctuating water levels of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo, largely determined the movement and prosperity of people on both sides of the river. The river bisected these two places, but the shared watershed also brought people together. In 1999 Antebi moved away to attend graduate school in California but would periodically return to El Paso. On one trip home in 2007, she was struck to find that the river was no longer visible, obstructed in part by the US/MX border security wall. This encounter moved her thinking toward the importance of visibility, engagement, and access to one’s watershed.


Contact: nicole.antebi(at)