America the Borderland

Willhemina E. Wahlin (Designer), Joel Pruce (Curator), Leora Kahn (Curator)

Research output: Non-textual outputs, including Creative WorksCreative Works - Original - Design/Architectural


To many, the borderland sits on a distant horizon, a wild frontier on the edge of a foreign territory. Those who inhabit this region are unfamiliar: speaking strange languages, traveling from another land. In the past we embraced our identity as a nation of immigrants, as a grand experiment of blended co-existence. For this reason, the Statue of Liberty is our most profound figure.
The iconic woman standing at the gateway to the United States is a symbol to the world of a strong resolve and a warm welcome. However, the words of Emma Lazarus are being challenged.
Borders divide and unite. In the shadow of the wrought-iron fence, individuals make their lives in community with others. Many who cross deserts in search of a new future expect to be embraced by the promise contained in the poem: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Instead the land is hostile, betraying its own fabled origins.
Being an immigrant in America has never been easy, but an open society provides space for people to create their own opportunities. As society closes, borderland communities take up the charge, embodying the principles we claim to represent, to build a new Ellis Island through their work. Courage in this context is the fortitude to breathe life into the idea of America. This is the journey of those fronterizos. We have much to learn from them.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York and Dayton
PublisherPROOF: Media for Social. Justice and University of Dayton Human Rights Center
Media of outputArtwork
SizeExhibition Graphic Design
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2019
EventAmerica the Borderland - University of Dayton Human Rights Center, Dayton, United States
Duration: 11 Apr 201912 May 2019


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