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forensic toe tags

Art exhibit represents plight of undocumented migrants

Photo by Zoe Pawliczek

Department of Anthropology invites UD community to 'Hostile Terrain 94' art installation

The University of Delaware Department of Anthropology invites the UD community to the major art installation Hostile Terrain 94. Located in Munroe Hall, the installation includes more than 3,500 forensic toe tags that have been filled in by hand to match the exact details of individuals whose remains have been recovered along only one part of the U.S.-Mexico border, the Sonoran Desert, between the years 2000-2019.

The exhibit’s title refers to the 1994 Prevention Through Deterrence policy. It was designed to control unauthorized entry at the southwest border, by funneling migrants toward remote and deadly regions of the US/Mexico border.

The participatory art project is sponsored and organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a nonprofit research-art-education-media collective. UD is one of more than 100 hosting partners who have displayed the exhibit nationally and globally.

Associate Professor Georgina Ramsay worked with UMP to bring the exhibit to UD. She said the exhibit is the result of approximately four years of campus-wide outreach to various classes, student groups, and alumni who ultimately came together to participate in the commemoration of people who have lost their lives as a result of U.S. border policy.

“We see the installation as an opportunity to tap into one of the key reasons students come to UD for their education: that is, to become global citizens who are aware of and sensitive to global challenges, including forced migration,” Ramsay said.

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