Border Report: Artist Aims to ‘Make the Border Disappear’ - Voice of San Diego

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Border Report: Artist Aims to ‘Make the Border Disappear’

Farm laborers renew calls to boycott berry producers, a Cirque du Soleil show inspired by Mexican history, a new suit accuses border agents of looting migrants and more in our roundup of new and culture surrounding the border.

The U.S.-Mexico border is a major player in the political discussion this year, but it is an abstraction to many Americans. On the other hand, in Mexico, “La Fronteriza” symbolizes a physical barrier that separates families, causes untold human misery and looms large in the country’s popular culture. Artist Ana Teresa Fernández’s public art project, “Borrando la Frontera” (Erasing the Border) aims to symbolically “erase” sections of the wall by painting it the same color as the sky.

Fernández has done this project twice before, but this is the first time she coordinated it simultaneously in three border cities on the Mexico side: Mexicali, Agua Prieta and Ciudad Juárez. Volunteers, including some from Arizona culture and art collective Border/Arte, Fernández’s mother and father and border activists from Mexico and the United States, helped paint and livestream the event.

Photo by Brooke Binkowski
Photo by Brooke Binkowski

Feminism and femicide was a subtext to the project — Ciudad Juárez has been notorious for the murders and disappearances of women and girls, and Mexicali has had its own missing and murdered women and girls.

“The piece … is a lot like my work in that it is a silent stance,” Fernández said. “A protest as a whisper that echoes loudly. The women in my work are always in their body, in their thoughts, never addressing the viewer or talking back.”

In 2012, Fernández — whose parents live in San Diego — painted the border fence in Playas, Tijuana. She says she wants to help people imagine life without a physical barrier separating the two countries.

#BoycottDriscolls

The farm laborers of San Quintín are continuing calls for a strike of Driscoll’s and Sakuma berries.

Photo by Brooke Binkowski
Photo by Brooke Binkowski

Last month, workers and activists marched from Mexico and the United States to meet across the international border. They are continuing their efforts into the United States in order to bring attention to human rights abuses and low wages (between $6 and $10 a day) by suppliers to Driscoll’s in particular, which is the world’s largest berry distributor, KAZU reports.

Other News

• Tijuana residents painted a “cathartic” mural of Donald Trump on the border wall. (Tijuana Press) (link in Spanish)

• A film called “Mexico’s Bravest Man,” a documentary about Julian Leyzoala, a former Tijuana police chief who survived numerous assassination attempts, including one that left him paralyzed from the waist down, was screened in Mission Valley Sunday. Leyzoala is running for mayor of Tijuana. (CBS8)

• As San Diego home prices grow more and more expensive, experts are predicting a spike in Americans moving to Tijuana, where they’re still close to home, but the cost of living is a lot lower. (KPBS)

• Will the newly opened Tijuana airport crossing from San Diego help boost tourism? (San Diego Union-Tribune)

• Border agents are accused of “looting” migrants’ belongings before deporting them in a new lawsuit brought by various civil rights groups. (Fox News Latino)

• A secret tunnel led from a Mexicali restaurant straight into home in Calexico, Calif., apparently the first time that traffickers bought land specifically to build a house in order to conceal a drug tunnel. It’s also the first highly sophisticated drug tunnel found in Calexico in a decade. (CNN Wire)

• Border activist John Fanestil, an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church and a member of Friends of Friendship Park, does a cross-border prayer service at the border wall on Sundays. (San Diego Free Press)

• The newest Cirque du Soleil show, “Luzia,” opens on April 21 in Montreal. Music from the show, which was inspired by Mexico’s prehispanic and present history, was created in collaboration with Bostich+Fussible from critically acclaimed Tijuana band Nortec Collective. Video can be found here.

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