UN Photographers display the divisive lines amongst men in Tijuana and San Diego

The world is too small for walls

UN Photographers display the divisive lines amongst men in Tijuana and San DiegoImages by Matthew Suarez
Images by Matthew Suarez

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The wall between United States and Mexico is not the only one that alienates families around the world. There are many other areas of conflict that separate humans like the Berlin wall did for 30 years.

United Nations photographers and collaborators, Alexandra Novosseloff and Frank Neisse, traveled the world for two years. They interacted with people that live in border towns separated by walls, their travels took them from Tijuana to Belfast, Jerusalem to Seoul, and from the island of Cyprus to El-Aaiún in North Africa. They returned with stories from their experiences, but more importantly a series of photographs of active walls that separate humans around the world. This unedited and unusual collection of photographs registers 9 different walls, active scars that go against the opened and globalized world we live in today:

- The Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany for 30 years

- The demilitarized zone between North and South Korea

- The Green Line in the island of Cyprus

- The Peace Lines in Northern Ireland

- The wall between Mexico and the United States

- The Berm, Moroccan Wall of Western Sahara made mostly out of sand

- The barbed wire fence between Spain's Melilla and Morocco's Ceuta

- The Line of Control, electrified fence between Pakistan and India

- The Separation Fence between Israel and Palestine

The exhibit invites people to reflect the walls that separated people not only physically but also mentally. It questions how we can view one's neighbor as a “foreigner, incomprehensible and dangerous being,” which incites a government to build walls that alienate us even more.

The walls help deny the existence of the people on the other side and makes it easier to ignore the problems it causes. Through photography, the exhibit invites visitors to discover the areas that are in deep ideological crisis that create the most complex problems the world faces today. All of it represented for the first time in one single space. The exhibit is displayed on the wall that separates Playas de Tijuana from Imperial Beach.

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