THE BORDER WALL
The Border Wall is a public art installation. It is constructed completely by hand, using only undocumented Mexican labor workers. The structure is made from welded steel, rebar and concrete ( 40 feet in length by 16 feet tall ) weighing over 25,000 pounds. It is modeled after the proposed $20 Billion dollar wall for the US / Mexico 1989 mile border. The purpose of this installation is to create social awareness on the issues surrounding immigration in the United States.
The incredible souls that we label as illegals, poor immigrants, the people who want to steal our jobs...( undocumented Mexican labor workers ) have actually come together to help construct this wall. They believe in showing the world what a dividing wall looks and feels like. They believe in letting the American public know, in a peaceful way, that they are not here to take anything. They are actually here to give and help build our "United" States. One worker has shared several stories of his difficult journey here. He also explained how other individuals raised $15,000 US in order to pay an illegal transporter to get them into this country... only to be treated like slaves on their arrival. Every story he tells makes me upset at the incorrect way we are dealing with this issue. I hope this project will give a better voice to the difficult topics individuals face that are only looking for a better life, and the difficult topics we face as a country. I can't help but ask myself... Does this wall stand for more then just a border crossing point? Maybe it's a symbol of division.... division of land, of cultures, of race, and equality. If we start going in this direction as a nation then where do we stop? I do not know, but I hope we can collectively explore the path together and find a more humane solution.
I have been asked and questioned about my personal stance on immigration and the border wall and I want to clarify… I am truly taking a "neutral" stance... not because I personally do not have a very strong opinion, but because Art must welcome different views, not control, oppress or block them. We will never get anywhere if two opposing sides continue to argue and bash one another. Sometimes people need to see things in front of them, without words of hate, to actually change their minds. I want people to come put their hands on a steel and concrete structure intended to keep people out and ask themselves some valuable questions... Do we really want to spend over $20,000,000,000 billion creating a wall? Has any wall in history ever proven to help the situation? Will this actually stop any harmful people from entering, will it stop the drug trade, will it do anything to make our country better? Or will a Border Wall only stop genuine individuals and families from entering that are looking for a better life? Let us not forget that entering this land as a free individual was the exact process every single person in this country did at some point in the history and making of this “United States”. No one in this country was actually from here unless you are pure Native American. I find myself humbled in the fact that all of our parents, grandparents and relatives were allowed a peaceful entry at some point in history and we should possibly look to keep it that way for others. I encourage all individuals, legal and illegal, to visit this wall, write on it, put up images of your family members you have left behind in other countries to be here in search of a better life, post letters on it, graffiti your thoughts, tag your beliefs, express all of your points and opinions on it. Art must be used to create social awareness. I value all opinions and points of view. Let’s find a peaceful approach and understanding for a difficult topic and most importantly… each other.
Here is what 16' feet x 10' feet of steel and concrete looks like... Imagine when the 40' foot section of this Border Wall installation is completed... Imagine when our country completes the 10,501,920 foot border wall ( covering 1989 miles ). As I stand in front of it, I am overwhelmed with the efforts it takes to create a wall, to divide lands, to keep countries in their place, to create protection, and keep people out of our United States. Could there be a better way? Is this really the answer? Could we find humanity as humans, realizing we get farther working all as one? If you do not agree, I will still value your beliefs, your point and perspective. I just realized today that I could not do this project alone, with my own two hands, without the help of the same people others choose to remove from this country. Today we worked together as one to hopefully introduce understanding that we should all be on the same side with no division...
I was very honored to meet with the Consul General F. Javier Diaz of Mexico. He shared personal experiences and insightful facts about immigration and the difficulties that affect both Mexico and the United States. He was a true source of first-hand knowledge. This is a situation he wished we could all approach with dignity and human understanding, something we must openly work on together as countries, and as people. Thank you for your time and most importantly, your words...
Facts for all of us to consider::
#1- Illegal immigration has actually drastically decreased in the United States over the past few decades. We are now at an all time low in history. In the late 1980's the numbers reached 1,700,000 Million per year and today the numbers have dropped to under 240,000 Thousand.
#2- The majority of the people crossing into the United States right now are Central American, seeking Political Asylum due to the difficult situations they face in their country. Of this number, the majority are minors risking their lives to get here.
#3- We have a system in place to actually hire immigrant workers for our farms ( the H2A Visa program ) that will allow people to enter legally, work, pay taxes and help our agricultural needs. In fact- they are required to pay into Social Security even though they will never benefit from the system. But- this is a difficult system to operate under for the farm owners. So it is easier and cheaper for them to hire illegals instead of offering them legal options.
#4- This same system ( the H2A Visa ) requires farmers to post jobs first to Americans that would like to work in the same position. One farm owner in North Carolina posted over 10,000 available jobs and only 9 Americans applied. He hired all 9 and by the end of the week, only 2 were remaining... forcing him to hire others under the H2A Visa or illegals to maintain his produce.
So maybe we are a part of this failing system?
#5- Over 1,000,000 Million people from Mexico cross the border LEGALLY every day to come for school or employment. They return every evening back to Mexico.
#6- No Terrorist or Terrorist Organization members has ever crossed into the United States from Mexico, and no one from Mexico has ever carried out an act of terrorism in the United States.
I do hope we can start an educated dialogue about the difficulties we all face as Americans, as Immigrants, as Countries to find a solution that serves us all. The world is a better place if we embrace our differences and collectively work for the greater good of all.
These photos were taken using Google Earth street view. I dropped a pin on the actual Border Wall between Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas and looked around. These two areas are directly across from one another. I have to say... if life looked this promising on the other side of a border wall... I would cross it too. We have to consider the situation and perspective of others that are only in search of a better life.
CNN Espanol journalist Marta Garcia Gomez and Orlando N. Ollie visited my home Studio for an interview regarding "The Border Wall". Their belief and passion for this project will help the world to see that difficult conversations can take place with one another, with shared kindness and respect, to make change for the greater good of us all.
8 steel and concrete 10' x 8' foot panels are complete. They will soon be delivered and stacked using an Industrial Crane to create the 40' x 16' foot Border Wall...
"The Border Wall" story airs on CNN ESPANOL to 45 Million Viewers. This installation is now reaching an international audience. The Power of Art in our World!
"THE BORDER WALL" Reporter: Wendy Corona
"THE BORDER WALL" Delivery...
Now the hardest part of the project begins:
#1 - Installing the 8 panels, that require an Industrial Crane
#2 - Painting the Mural
#3 - Walking away to see what others will voice on it
This project has pushed me to put things into the world that inspire change. As the "Wide Load" 22 wheeler - Semi Truck delivers my latest sculptural project... I know I have found my voice as an artist.
THE DANA BARRETT RADIO SHOW
"THE BORDER WALL"
Early morning painting begins...
The Industrial Crane has arrived to lift the 5,000 pound panels... The Wall upon completion, will now weigh in at 40,000 pounds.
The Crane operator and his son are from Stockbridge Ga. We had a long discussion about growing up in the South and how most closed minded thoughts across the US, and the globe for that matter, are due to the limited exposure people have to other people, religions and countries in this world. We shared some of our own personal beliefs on the Border Wall, our President, Immigration, and the consuming "Fear" Americans have. We agreed on many topics and others had completely different views... But after a short talk, we still respected one another. He worked side by side with my crew and was honored to help me raise the panels into place, to create a canvas for healthy discussion for all of our differences.
This installation has pushed me as a human, to fully understand and peacefully share the belief that people from different countries, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds are needed in the world... And today has proven it... Anything is possible if we help one another on this journey!
Final Day of Construction. We managed to get the final welding done between the two storms entering the city. Now the 8 panels are welded together with steel anchors to create the solid 40,000 pound Border Wall. Last step coming soon... The mural of the Mexican Flag and Trump.
It is said that one person can not solve all the problems in our country or the world... but then again... if one person does not speak up, then where would we be?
Please come Speak Your Voice!
Bring Photos and Letters or Print out your Statements, Beliefs, and Facts on Immigration and glue it up on the wall.
Draw, Tag, or Graffiti it... Leave your mark for others to see.
I want all sides with all views to be heard.
Lets trigger change without the Argument...
The Press Coverage Begins...