A new photo exhibit is currently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH).
Showing the stone monuments erected in the 19th Century, which represent the current border between the United States and Mexico, the exhibit, titled “Monuments: 276 Views of the United States–Mexico Border,” reportedly consists of photos of the obelisks erected to mark the border between the two countries at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848.
The photo series is also said to mark a nearly decade-long quest by photographer and artist David Taylor.
When he noticed one of the obelisks in 2006, he said he made it his mission to photograph every one of the 275 remaining monuments, starting in El Paso/Juarez and moving westward along the border, all the way to San Diego/Tijuana.
The exhibit reportedly features a variety of landscapes, ranging from desolate deserts, to rugged mountain ranges; some of the obelisks stand alone, like sentries left to guard a lonely post, while others are surrounded by concrete barriers, barbed wire fences or stretches of empty highways.
During an interview, Taylor also spoke about the people he met along the way on both sides of the border, from migrants looking for a better life, to the smugglers who take advantage of them, as well as the border patrol agents committed to stopping them.
“Most battles over border politics are fought in the theoretical realm, as if discussing the logistics of a board game without real-life consequences,” Taylor provided in a press release about the exhibit. “But, along this 2,000-mile boundary, every legislative decision impacts people and landscape in concrete ways. Within the discussion of border politics, little consideration is given to what the actual border looks like.”
The exhibit can be viewed as individual photos, or in a 14-minute slide show, and runs through January 28, 2018.
A book of prints will also be made available.
If the Trump Administration fulfills its stated goal of building a wall along the border, some fear the obelisks may be demolished or moved, and the photo exhibit could become the only chance many Americans get to see these historic monuments.