The current border wall that separates Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Sonora was erected in 2011. Prior to that, the wall that divided the cities was made from surplus Army helicopter landing pads, left over from Operation Desert Storm.
The old wall was not known for its pleasing aesthetic appearance (it was ugly), but there was one unique feature of contrasts on the Mexican side of the wall – bright metallic images that depicted stark border messages.
Superimposed over the dull green rusting corrugated surface of the wall with its fading graffiti, the silver gleam of the polished metal pieces would shine in the sun of day.
The metal figures offered sober images of the dangers of paying coyotes to cross the border for the ultimate threat of death from dying of thirst in the desert – and all for an effort to chase after the elusive American dollar.
The artwork was preserved before the wall was torn down and is currently on display at the University of Arizona.