The Wall

“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.

Featuring: Griselda San Martin

Presented by

United Photo Industries with additional support from Luxlab

Curated by

Sam Barzilay

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.

ARTIST BIO

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. Throughout the past six years, San Martin has documented the U.S.-Mexico border, focusing on the issues of immigration, deportation, inequality and human rights abuses through an optic of identity and belonging. Her current focus is on the growing Hispanic community in the United States and the sociopolitical implications of reactionary narratives depicting immigrants and ethnic minorities. Her work explores the transnational life and practices that link individuals, families and social networks across political boundaries. 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.

 

Griselda San Martin is the recipient of the 2018 FENCE Jury Choice Award where she was awarded a $5,000 Grant plus an exhibition at Photoville.

ORGANIZATION BIO

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.

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