Citizen reporter
2 minute read
31 Jul 2019
2:45 pm

Seesaws at border allow American and Mexican kids to play together

Citizen reporter

The art installation, which became a huge hit on social media, was removed on the same day it went up.

American and Mexican families play with a toy called "up and down" (Seesaw swing) over the Mexican border with US at the Anapra zone in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, Mexico on July 28, 2019. (Photo by LUIS TORRES / AFP / Getty Images)

Children from the Mexican and US sides of the countries’ border fence played with each other on seesaws over the weekend, after an art installation created by an architecture professor and a design professor allowed them to do so.

University of California’s architecture professor Ronald Rael and associate professor of design at San Jose State University Virginia first had the idea back in 2009, which was included in the book Borderwall as Architecture, which uses “humour and inventiveness to address the futility of building barriers”.

Ten years later, they were able to make the idea a reality, after Rael led a crew, who transported the seesaws to Sunland Park, New Mexico, where they attached it to the steel fence which borders on Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Kids on both sides took turns on the pink seesaws on Saturday, when the installation went up.

In an Instagram post, Rael said the event was “filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the border wall”.

“The wall became a literal fulcrum for US-Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side,” he added.

The project has been a huge hit on social media, leading some to believe the seesaws are still there. However, it was removed on the same day.

A US customs and border patrol official told Forbes: “There is no playground along the US-Mexico border wall in New Mexico. On the evening of July 28, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered a small group who identified themselves as local university faculty/staff at the border wall. They had placed boards through the wall and appeared to be playing with residents of Mexico while recording the engagement. The group removed the boards and left the area without incident after it was established that there was no advance coordination. Agents ensured that no people/goods were crossed during the encounter.”

View this post on Instagram

One of the most incredible experiences of my and @vasfsf’s career bringing to life the conceptual drawings of the Teetertotter Wall from 2009 in an event filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the borderwall. The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S. – Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side. Amazing thanks to everyone who made this event possible like Omar Rios @colectivo.chopeke for collaborating with us, the guys at Taller Herrería in #CiudadJuarez for their fine craftsmanship, @anateresafernandez for encouragement and support, and everyone who showed up on both sides including the beautiful families from Colonia Anapra, and @kerrydoyle2010, @kateggreen , @ersela_kripa , @stphn_mllr , @wakawaffles, @chris_inabox and many others (you know who you are). #raelsanfratello #borderwallasarchitecture #teetertotterwall #seesaw #subibaja

A post shared by RAEL (@rrael) on

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