From the overall winner -
On behalf of Rael San Fratello, who is Virginia San Fratello and myself, Ronald Rael, as well as Omar Rios of Colectivo Chopeke, we thank you very much for this award. Receiving one of the most prestigious awards for public art is both an honor, and also a point of reflection for us. We never imagined that the humble event we created with communities on both sides of the border would be considered ‘public art’, although we always acknowledged that the border was ‘public space’ as it is a federally funded project paid for by tax payers, and the public should decide what happens in the borderlands. We recognize that the wall is an architecture of violence, and both Rael San Fratello and Colectivo Chopeke have for many years worked on ways to think about the issues related to solving those issues of violence at the border which have caused enormous humanitarian and ecological damage. Therefore, we accept this award with the understanding that the wall constructed between the United States and Mexico is fraught, and is a manifestation of xenophobia and nationalism that has resulted in the suffering of indigenous communities, particularly through the separation of children from their families. While this work of public art doesn’t solve the vast and complex problems created by the construction of the wall, we do hope it sheds light on this very important issue and allows everyone to see that the walls we construct between countries, between people of different cultures, different identities, belief systems, and skin colors are never productive, because the actions that take place on one side of a wall, just like in the humble teeter totter positioned on the fulcrum of the border, will have a consequence on the other. Thank you.