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KNAU and Arizona News

New exhibit features quilts made from clothing abandoned on migrant trails in Arizona desert

quilt
(Henry Brean/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
In this undated photo a quilt from the Migrant Quilt Project is displayed at the state museum in Tucson, Ariz. Twenty quilts stitched together with clothes abandoned on Arizona's migrant trails will soon be displayed together for the first time at the Arizona History Museum in Tucson.

Twenty quilts stitched together with clothes abandoned on Arizona’s migrant trails will soon be displayed together at the Arizona History Museum in Tucson for a 13-month exhibition, called “Los Desconocidos: The Migrant Quilt Project.”

The intricate quilts are the work of more than 50 artists recruited for the project to honor those who have died while crossing the desert in search of a better life.

Each quilt memorializes the migrants whose bodies were found during a single federal fiscal year in the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, which extends from the New Mexico state line to the eastern edge of Yuma County.

Since 2000-01, the fiscal year of the first quilt, the bodies of more than 3,600 migrants have been found in Southern Arizona, according to records compiled by the medical examiner and the Tucson-based humanitarian group Humane Borders.

Those whose remains have been identified by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office are listed by name. The rest are remembered simply as a “desconocido” or unknown.