A curator says artwork created by teenage immigrants who were held in a now-dismantled West Texas tent city portrays their longing for freedom and comfort.

The “Uncaged Art” exhibition highlights artwork produced by former detainees at the Tornillo tent city and is on display at the Centennial Museum at the University of Texas at El Paso until this fall.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the fundamental theme of the exhibition is the Quetzal bird and its colorful plumage. El Paso historian David Romo, who co-curated the exhibition, says the bird symbolizes a “yearning to be freed.” Romo noted birds are admired by Aztec and Mayan people.

This photo taken April 23, 2019, shows El Paso historian David Romo who is co-curator of the
This photo taken April 23, 2019, shows El Paso historian David Romo who is co-curator of the “Caged Art” exhibition, which opened at UTEP’s Centennial Museum and will also open in a separate exhibit May 4th in the historic El Paso neighborhood of Duranguito, where many Central Americans migrants are daily dropped off. The teenagers created the artwork while in federal detention at the Tornillo camp. (Alfredo Corchado/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

The federal government recently announced it will open two new tent cities in Texas to house up to 1,000 immigrants.

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This photo taken April 23, 2019, shows El Paso historian David Romo who is co-curator of the
This photo taken April 23, 2019, shows El Paso historian David Romo who is co-curator of the “Caged Art” exhibition, which opened at UTEP’s Centennial Museum. The Central American youths whose work is on display in the “Caged Art” exhibition, which opened at UTEP’s Centennial Museum, also made handcrafts, including a traditional dress. The teenagers created the artwork while in federal detention at the Tornillo camp. Seen here with. (Alfredo Corchado/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

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