At the juncture of San Diego, California; and Tijuana, Mexico, the border wall’s rusting steel bars plunge into the sand, extending 300 feet into the Pacific Ocean, and casting a long and conflicting shadow.
“The Wall” is a documentary project about Friendship Park, a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border where families meet to share intimate moments through the metal fence that separates them.
Physical borders create symbolic boundaries that reinforce the rhetoric of “us versus them,” in which immigrants are seen as a threat to traditional narratives ingrained in various communities across America. The existence of these fences illustrates anti-immigrant sentiment, legitimizing exclusionary practices and justifying harsh government action. Once erected, they become enduring, permanent features of the geopolitical landscape and a powerful, aggressive reminder to immigrants that they don’t belong.
By calling attention to the human interactions at Friendship Park, where families visit and speak with one another through a metal fence, I attempt to neutralize what this wall was built to create—separation.
My goal is to transform the discourse of border security into a conversation about immigrant visibility, addressing audiences on both sides of the wall by challenging popular assumptions, or by reminding them that they are seen, heard and that they matter. I believe this work is especially meaningful now, given the current socio-political global context.
The FENCE is a large-scale traveling photography exhibition reaching over 6 million visitors annually through open-air exhibitions in 8 cities across North America: Brooklyn, Boston, Atlanta, Santa Fe, Durham, Denver, Calgary (Canada), and Sarasota. Photographers submitting to The FENCE 2018 may also be considered for one of our 5 Regional Showcase exhibitions that will highlight work by photographers living in New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina, New England, and Western Canada respectively.
Since its inception, THE FENCE has consistently attracted exceptional work by talented photographers from around the world, giving us an opportunity to share these powerful photographic narratives with a diverse audience of millions of visitors annually, while providing photographers with a truly public platform and unexpected career opportunities.
Griselda San Martin is a Spanish documentary photographer currently based in New York City. She is a graduate of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography (ICP), and holds a Masters in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
San Martin’s work challenges popular assumptions about immigrants, and offers an alternative perspective―a marginalized community demonstrating resilience and resourcefulness amidst trying situations.
Her photography and video projects have been exhibited internationally and featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Republic, and California Sunday Magazine, as well as other publications.
United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.
Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.
Featuring: Griselda San Martin
Curated by: Sam Barzilay
LocationsView Location Details Download a detailed map of this location Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza
1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
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