As a part of Red Sand Project, Border US-MX is a 650-foot long outdoor trench filled with red sand in the shape of the U.S. border with Mexico, installed near the takeoff and landing strips at IAH airport.
As a part of Red Sand Project, I have created large-scale, site-specific outdoor land art installations that bring Red Sand Project’s mission of raising awareness of human trafficking to a whole new level — and scale. Stretching hundreds of feet long in the shapes of political borders, the earthworks raise important questions about migration, freedom of movement and the ways refugees are susceptible to exploitation. As public art installations, they provide spaces for activists, community members, and others to question, connect and take action against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation.
The most recent earthwork is a 650-foot long outdoor trench filled with red sand in the shape of the U.S. border with Mexico, installed near the takeoff and landing strips at IAH airport. This red crack in the earth stretches out into the airfield, able to be seen from the ground and the air. Border US-MX, 2018, International Airport Houston is the third earthwork I have done in the shape of the U.S. border with Mexico. The thinking behind these works stems from my own interest in borders, and the ways in which borders and migration connect to vulnerabilities and susceptibility to exploitation. Research suggests that discrimination is a major vulnerability that can lead to human trafficking. When immigration status is questioned, cracks form in an individual’s security. When someone is a refugee, they are more likely to become a victim to trafficking.
Created in collaboration with Stardust Arts Foundation, Border US-MX raises important questions about migration and freedom of movement; it connects borders to human trafficking; and it highlights refugees’ extreme vulnerabilities—all at the George Bush International Airport in Houston, just 350 miles from the border. The undulating, irregular border of Texas—created by the natural curves of Rio Grande—in contrast with the straight lines and edges of the other states, highlights the arbitrary ways in which borders are drawn. These borders are past political agreements, but they are very much affecting present-day lives. Border US-MX helps people understand how all vulnerabilities are connected, and how what happens at the border extends far beyond it.