“If a color cannot cure, can it at least incite hope?” writer Maggie Nelsonasks in Bluets, a series of prose poems about the color blue. For residents of the border town of Nogales, Mexico, blue has become a promising signal of open skies and porous borders. On October 13, artist Ana Teresa Fernández led a group of volunteers equipped with paint rollers and brushes to “erase” the border fence dividing the US and Mexico.
Students and community members from neighboring Arizona, as well as locals on the Mexican side, helped paint a 50-foot stretch of the almost 2,000-mile border fence on the southern side with a shade of blue closely matching the sky. Volunteers spent six hours covering every inch of the fence, propping up ladders to reach its height of 25 feet.
For those participating in and witnessing “Erasing the Border,” the blue-painted fence represents not just a new view, but a way of reflecting on the experience of the border and connecting with others whose lives are impacted by the fence.
The participation of young and old, both US and Mexican, has encouraged the artist to expand the series for other communities along the border. She hopes to paint a section of the border fence in Texas in the near future, where blue can once again serve as a portal to imagining a borderless society.” Hyperallergic