Started in 2002 while in militarily-occupied Palestine as a Jewish activist, Up Against the Wall uses the southern United States border, Israel’s walls in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Spanish/European Union-controlled barrier at Melilla to offer a visual and comparative investigation of nation state-imposed borders as they become physical and evolve.
Up Against the Wall first sparked a nerve in 2002 as I watched construction begin on what is now a nearly 500 mile long, largely 25 foot high concrete wall inside the Palestinian West Bank. At the time, the idea to build a physical and militarized structure, that displaces and separates as a solution to something deemed a problem, blew my mind. So I began looking around. And I came to realize, building a structure to keep the Other out or lock Them in was not so unusual a reality. And that in many cases, people by the scores were willing to risk imprisonment or death in attempt to cross.
Being able to juxtapose these images gives us space to visually comprehend global relationships of power. Considering these structures allows us to ask why these structures exist, who builds them, to what ends and with what impact. Visualizing these structures offer those of us not forced up against the walls in this world a glimpse of the reality we are building.
But Up Against the Wall is also about making community connections and becomes a canvas for collaboration across our various social movement work, utilizing exhibitions as a space local grassroots organizations, communities and activists can collaborate. In this way, the reality of that which divides us is subverted into bridges that connect, and through these collaborations, solutions can be offered.