Borrando la Frontera

Artist : Ana Teresa Fernandez
Location : US Mexico Border
Year : 2015
Researcher : Jessica Fiala

Across hundreds of miles where Mexico and the U.S. meet, a scar marks the landscape. Ranging from chain-linked to thick beams, fencing divides the two countries along borderlands that writer Gloria Anzaldúa famously compared to a raw wound, “a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional reside of an unnatural boundary.” In 2011, artist Ana Teresa Fernandez, clad in a black dress, the color of mourning, approached the fence that divides Tijuana and San Diego and began painting the deep brown metal beams a grey-toned blue. In doing so, she “brought down the sky” and created an optical illusion, the appearance of a gap in the severe barrier. This performative act was the first iteration of Borrando la Frontera (Erasing the Border).

The project was first completed as a solo piece, with documentary photographs, in 2011. An artist residency through Arizona State University in 2015 provided the opporutnity for the artist to organize a second iteration, inviting volunteers to participate. A 2016 version is currently in planning stages.

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A residency organized by Mary Stephens, Director of Arizona State University’s program Performance in the Borderlands, provided Fernandez with the opportunity to propose a new iteration of the project. Following talks and workshops in five Arizona cities, on October 13, 2015, about 40 volunteers joined Fernandez on the Nogales, Mexico side of the border to paint out a section of the fence. From an isolated action to a community event, the project will expand once again in 2016, with a planned third version to involve simultaneous painting events to multiply virtual permeations in the border. In this manner, the project will ultimately become a form of triptych, with distinct events exponentially expanding impact and involvement in this re-envisioning of the border.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

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