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Virtual 'Hostile Terrain' a participatory art experience

Image with caption: Handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019.

Handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019.

Re-Imagining U is offering a participatory art experience on Oct. 6 with "Hostile Terrain: The Undocumented Migration Project."

The virtual event, "The Land of Open Graves: Raising Awareness about Migrant Life and Death along the U.S./Mexico Border," begins at 10 a.m. and is a project sponsored and organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a non-profit research-art-education-media collective, directed by anthropologist Jason De León.

The exhibition is composed of more than 3,200 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019. These tags are geolocated on a wall map of the desert showing the exact locations where remains were found. 

Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. federal government has relied on aborder enforcement strategy known as "Prevention Through Deterrence." Using various security infrastructure and techniques of surveillance,this strategy funnels undocumented migrants towards remote and rugged terrain such as the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, with the hope that mountain ranges, extreme temperatures and other "natural" obstacles will deter people from unauthorized entry. Since the 1990s, thousands of people have died as a result of this policy.

De León is the head curator of "Hostile Terrain 94" and executive director of the Undocumented Migration Project, Inc. He is also professor of anthropology and Chicana/o and Central American studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of the award-winning book "The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail."

Participants receive a prepared package for inclusion in this project.

All UNMC and University of Nebraska at Omaha employees are invited. Sign up using Bridge.

Contact Giovanni Jones with questions.

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