A Work of Art Inspired by the Border Wall

In August 2022 our Sonoran Springs Specialist Ángel Garcia, originally from Esqueda, Sonora, decided to follow his dream of studying dance and arts in Mexicali, Baja California, for which he had to leave his position. He’s currently a volunteer with Sky Island Alliance. And on this occasion, he shares his first original artistic work with us, entitled: “For those who have no voice” — a painting inspired by the border wall.

Border wall paintingDuring the years that I had the opportunity to collaborate with SIA — as an intern, assistant, and later Sonora Springs Specialist — I was able to fight for the conservation of the Sky Islands. During this time I was shocked by the damage that the border wall has caused and continues to cause in the region, mainly affecting wildlife.

This situation left a mark on me, and I’ve decided to continue fighting for conservation through art. In this painting I wanted to represent both the impotence and courage that I feel for all wildlife that have suffered or died due to the various pressures created by the border wall. If animals had a voice, I’m sure they’d want to voice it now and tear down the wall — but they can’t. That’s why I decided to paint some species that have died, or are highly threatened, as a form of protest.

The border wall has seriously impacted the north of Mexico and Southwest United States, dividing one of the most important natural regions of North America. This is a place with such incredible biodiversity and where just a few generations ago people lived more harmoniously with nature, rivers flowed freely, and animals like black bears, coyotes, javelinas, and turkeys moved naturally through the landscape in search of food, water, shelter, and mates.

The border wall and all that comes with it — from roads to stadium lights to patrolling officers — has brought very worrying consequences for our environment. It has halted regular wildlife migrations and divided the geographic ranges of 1,506 kinds of plants and animals, including 62 imperiled species. With the wall in place, it will be nearly impossible for endangered species like jaguars and Mexican gray wolves to reestablish their populations in the United States.

So has it really been worth continuing with the construction of this wall, which has only brought losses and damages? Is it even effective as a barrier for human beings? On the contrary, people have shown time and again that where there’s a will, there’s a way to cross. The wall, then, not only divides and destroys but remains unnecessary.