exhibit showcases images of Mexico border walls, fences
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, Associated Press
NEWARK, Ohio, Sept. 18, 2018 (AP): The U.S. border wall with
México is frequently in the news, but few people have a chance
to visit it up close, or to see details of the various sections.
an Ohio State University geography professor and border
wall expert, hopes his new photo exhibit will help bring the
border closer to people at a time of heated discussion about the
role of the wall, and of barriers in society overall.
``Up Close with U.S.-México Border Barriers''
opens Wednesday at the LeFevre Art Gallery on the Ohio
State campus in Newark, 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of
Columbus. The free exhibit of 33 poster-sized pictures features
border wall photos and maps.
One of the exhibit's goals is creating awareness about the wall,
which can include low-grade sections in rural areas meant to
stop vehicles and much stronger barriers in cities meant to stop
people, Madsen said.
``People don't generally have a chance to see something up
close, at that level of detail, to know what's going on out
there,'' he said.
Donald Trump has held out the possibility of a government
shutdown before the November elections over his effort to build
a wall on the U.S.-México border, even as Republican
congressional leaders publicly urged him away from that path and
predicted it wouldn't occur. ``Build the wall!'' was a frequent
rallying cry during Trump's 2016 campaign.
Madsen has studied the border wall since his graduate school
days 20 years ago. His photo exhibit consists of pictures taken
with his iPhone mostly in 2017, when he was on sabbatical.
In one image, children play at a Mexican playground beside a
barrier in Tijuana near the Pacific Ocean while a U.S. border
agent watches from his SUV on the U.S. side just a couple of
hundred feet away.
In another, stadium lights atop tall poles oversee a pedestrian
barrier stretching for miles along a section of the wall between
Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta in the Mexican state of
In a third, a post-on-rail type wall snakes through a Colorado
River flood plain between Arizona and Baja California in México,
a design meant to minimize soil disturbance in fragile
landscapes, as well as to prevent it being washed away in a
U.S. communities tend to grow away from the border wall, while
Mexican communities tend to hug them up close, Madsen said. That
helps account for large murals or brightly painted panels along
several sections on the Mexican side.
Madsen is also an expert on waivers along the wall, whereby the
government can exempt fence construction from a variety of
federal requirements, including archaeological and environmental
Madsen plans to attend an international conference on border
walls next week in Montreal, Canada.
Another border expert attending that conference says it's
important to share the experience of the border with people
through such exhibits because so many stereotypes about the wall
``The social construction of the border is negative and it's
perpetuated by people that have never even seen it, been here,
touched it, felt it, crossed it,'' said Irasema Coronado,
a political science professor at the University of Texas-El
Paso and a past president of the Association for
Madsen's exhibit isn't overtly political, and provides useful
information for people on both sides of the border debate. But
he notes the irony that wall building has increased with the
rise of globalization.
Though the free-flow of capital means more freedom for more
people, ``there also are these border walls and fences to
restrict movement of people of lesser economic means with fewer
opportunities available, who are maybe stuck in bad
situations,'' he said.