An American Fault Line

The U.S./Mexican Border

3 min read by Robert Castagna.
Nogales Arizona border wall with barbed wire.

The U.S./Mexican borderlands would be a hauntingly beautiful place if the scars of humanity were not so deep. One is reminded of prison, on the one hand, a cemetery on the other. The ghosts of asylum seekers and migrants are omnipresent through the carefully placed crosses and memorials that line the border wall.

There seems always to be a storm on the horizon, be it monsoon or a political one. Recently the American wall was festooned with barbed wire while in Mexico murals abound directly on the border fence. It is as if the sadness is being sublimated into art, the only way to somehow break free from the terrible tragedies and unmarked graves. Fortunately, humanity has a way to overcome in any condition and raise a hand to god.

Nogales Sonora Mexico crosses along border wall for migrants.

The black and white film I photographed the images on for this project is a metaphor for the opposing sides of the border wall. Two stark contrasts that mutate, depending on what side you are looking from. There is a side to take when it comes to politics, and there is a side when it comes to the border.

In today’s border, we see yet another example of America’s fault line, that enduring legacy of slave labour, disenfranchised persons and the supposed security of freedom and opportunity.

Mural by Buho Villamil in Playas de Tijuana.
Border Wall in Playas de Tijuana.
Playas de Tijuana Mexico.
El Paso Carnival.
Tijuana mural, red light district.
Memorial for Jose Rodriguez in Nogales Sonora, Mexico.