Erase the Border

Art & Design


“Erase the Border” is a project that will take place on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in southern Arizona.

The Institute for Infinitely Small Things is currently seeking funding to complete the project in Spring 2012 (see detailed request below).

The project would be to physically “erase” the U.S.-Mexico border fence on the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona. The fence divides the Tohono O’odham community, disrupts ceremonial paths, desecrates sacred burial grounds and prevents members from receiving critical health services.

Ofelia Rivas and youth from the Tohono O’odham Nation will work with the Institute for Infinitely Small Things to create a series of drawings from performances on the U.S.-Mexican border in southern Arizona.

What we will do

We will walk the border fence in a ceremonial way.

We will drag and press large 30″ x 40″ sheets of fine art paper along the fence as we go.

The walking and pressure will create drawings that pick up physical matter – dirt, debris, bugs, rust – and remove it from the border fence.

A small part of the border fence will be removed forever.

The created drawings are abstract landscapes.

About the Tohono O’odham

The Tohono O’odham are an indigenous tribe that live on the second largest indian reservation in the U.S. Their lands straddle 75 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern AZ. The O’odham lived on the land long before the US or Mexico or the Gadsden Purchase or Homeland Security.

The vehicle border fence, erected in 2008 by Homeland Security, stretches for 75 miles across the O’odham lands in the deserts of Arizona.

More Information

Please watch the below video for a full background on the Tohono O’odham’s situation on the border.

Seeking Funding

Originally slated to be performed in Fall 2011, this project continues to seek funding to be completed in Spring 2012. See below for more info.

Any contribution is welcome; our total need is $2,400, which would cover the following:

  • Travel for 2 members of Institute for Infinitely Small Things from Boston to AZ
  • Fine art paper
  • Transportation for Ofelia Rives, O’odham youth and Institute members (distances on the reservation are great and gas is expensive)
  • Honorarium for youth participants
  • One day of meals for everyone involved
  • Still photography, video documentation and post-production