Who Are We?
We are an all-women team of three: Tereneh Idia, Leah Patgorski, and Jennifer Myers (formerly Meridian), who formed in the early months of the Trump administration to create work in opposition to the proposed wall at the US/MX border. Our combined strength is rooted in our individual capabilities and successes. Tereneh Idia is an internationally based fashion designer and founder of Idia'Dega, a global eco-design collaboration with OMWA: Olorgesailie Maasai Women Artisans of Kenya and The Beading Wolves, an Oneida family of artisans. Leah Patgorski is an artist and designer working with sculpture and site-specific textile installations. Jennifer Myers is a visual artist working with drawing, sculpture, and performance. Selina Lee, a student at Carnegie Mellon University, has provided fantastic research and assistance as our intern. We are based in Pittsburgh and Southern Virginia.
What Are We Doing?
We are making creative resistance work that is committed to staying in step with the Trump administration's push to fund and build the border wall.
Our first action was Phase One in April 2017, when we submitted our anti-wall, non-wall designs to bid on the “Other Border Wall Prototypes” through Customs and Border Protection's Request for Qualifications. Our work went viral on CNN, The Washington Post, and NPR, among other major media outlets to enter the national conversation in dialogue with the “real” proposals. Our original designs included hammocks, lighthouses, and pipe organs for an imagined border of safety, humanitarian relief, and creativity.
In January 2018 we announced Phase Two. This included a Request for Designs for the Other Border Wall open to the public through an online submission form; a group exhibition and partnership with Flatland Gallery in Houston, TX to showcase our work and the public designs we received; this website; a visit to Laredo to meet key allies and partners and host media events and artist talks; and presenting our work at the College Art Association conference in Los Angeles.
Phase Three began in July 2018 with an exciting collaboration with the Yaqui, Mayan and Pima artist and writer Anita Endrezze. We printed her poem The Wall as a limited edition broadside with Commonwealth Press. The work is for sale on our etsy page. All proceeds from these prints go towards Border Angels, a humanitarian organization doing important and impactful work at the US/MX border.
Phase Four is forthcoming and in the planning stages now, to unfold in 2020. In this next phase, we are planning an exhibition in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District for Fall 2020 that features the work of artists from the border region; announcing a presidential campaign for a very humane candidate; and we will create space to shed light on how border issues affect communities in Pittsburgh. More good news to come….
David Janesko, artist and curator/director of Flatland Gallery in Houston, Texas
Gil Rocha, artist and curator based in Laredo, Texas
Anita Endrezze, poet and writer based in Washington State
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (invited us to exhibit our work)
The Opportunity Fund (emergency funding for Phase 2)