Nicole Antebi (she/her/hers) 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.
My interest in the movement, history, and mythology of Water in the West probably originated with my upbringing in El Paso, Texas. Before I 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 I knew that rivers change course and therefore make terrible boundaries, I 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 I moved away to attend grad school in California but would periodically return to El Paso. On one trip I was struck to find that the river was no longer visible, obstructed in part by the US/MX border security wall/fence. This got me thinking about the importance of visibility, engagement, and access to one’s watershed.