Colibri is Spanish for hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are migratory birds that are native to the Americas, the majority are native to Latin America.
In 2009, the body of an undocumented migrant was found in the desert, and in his pocket he carried a small dead hummingbird, an indigenous symbol of safe passage and a messenger between the living and the dead. The man is named after Colibri, as well as thousands of other such migrants.
Each migrant is a colibri, a courageous explorer, seeker, and sacrificer who sets out on a journey, often of no return, for that beam of hope, a better life for their family.
Each migrant is a colibri chasing hope, and every such colibri is a flying kite.
Every missing migrant is a flying kite, flown by their families.
The migrants who died on their way to find hope for their family are kites with broken strings, unable to reconnect with their families, unable to fly again, unable to return home.
Family links are very important to Latin American culture. The severe weather in the Sonoran desert can quickly render a dead body unrecognizable, sometimes within a day. Over two thousand unidentifiable bodies were found within the past decade. These anonymous skeletons and remains are recorded in the NamUs database, but little can be done to find their identities and let their souls unite with their families. At the same time, thousands of families are suffering, searching and grieving, waiting for their loved ones to return home, living or dead.
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The Colibri Kite is a gesture to link the souls of these unidentifiable migrants to the families that are waiting for a chance to reunite with their loved ones spiritually.
A kite is an attempt to reach hope, to break boundaries.
Each kite is a migrant, carrying the weight and meaning of their souls.
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Every unidentifiable migrant recorded in the NamUS database will become one colibri kite, with their case number and location encoded on the face of the kite. The annual migratory paths of hummingbirds coincide with that of the migrants, so on each kite a map of the paths these migrants took are drawn as the paths of hummingbirds. Then, each colibri kite is linked to a family that wants to find closure for their loved ones. The name of a species of colibri from the same country/region the families are from is printed on the kite. The families take the kite, and with red thread, sew the path they imagine their loved ones took from home to the point of their death. They can also choose to make a customized tail for the kite with a piece of clothing, or a braided bracelet that their loved ones used to wear. Anything can be attached on the tail that would make the colibri kite and the migrant’s soul it is carrying family. On the day of the dead, thousands of colibri kites go up in the sky, to mourn the deceased migrants and let their souls return home. As the kites fly, the family members feeling the pull on the threads as they would feel that their loved ones’ soul has really come back.
The colibri kite is a symbol of a migrant, a memorial for their journey, a link between the unidentified remains of a migrant and the families desperately waiting for their return, and a gateway to connect the living and the dead.