The quest for a greater understanding of purpose and meaning is universal to our collective existence. We wrestle with the anxiety and uncertainty we all face when we leave behind the known for the unknown. Regardless of the demarcation lines of country and culture, we are all migrants in search of something profound and meaningful to our being. The bright border light forces a pause in this transitory experience for the migrant crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a time of national polarization and apprehension, Estamos Buscando A is an immersive, photography-based installation that re-materializes the physicality and psychology of the U.S.-Mexico border as a 12’ x 64’ free-standing wall on a nearly 3,000 square foot dirt footprint.
Constructed with salvaged sections of fencing from the original border wall, the Mexico side of the installation serves as an altar to support photographic portraits of migrants printed on aluminum, referencing religious iconography of the retablo and votive paintings found in churches throughout Mexico, quietly speaking to the enduring human spirit of the migrant experience. In contrast, the imposing U.S. side of the installation—based on a 2017 request for proposals from the Department of Homeland Security—foretells a future of isolation and detached nationalism. Various ephemeral materials—including government signage and a tire drag—heighten the presence of national security while the discarded, personal belongings of migrants speak of the border experience as not just a topic of political debate, but rather as a harrowing and longstanding human ordeal.