For the past six years Spanish documentary photographer, Griselda San Martin, has documented the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Based in New York, San Martin focuses on issues of immigration, deportation, inequality and human rights abuses from the perspective of identity and belonging. This year her series, which is called “The Wall,” received the 2018 FENCE Jury Choice Award, for which San Martin was given a $5,000 grant plus an exhibition at the upcoming Photoville festival.
At the juncture of San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico, the border wall extends 300 feet into the Pacific Ocean, “casting a long and conflicting shadow,” writes San Martin in the artist statement for “The Wall.” Photographed at Friendship Park, a stretch of the border where families meet to share intimate moments through a metal fence, San Martin attempts to “neutralize” the separation the wall was built to create by calling attention to the human interactions at the park.
The border fence has become an “enduring, permanent feature of the geopolitical landscape–and a powerful, aggressive reminder to immigrants that they don’t belong,” writes San Martin. Her goal with “The Wall” is to “transform the discourse on 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.”
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