BUILD THAT PARK! is powered by Friends of Friendship Park, a coalition of individuals and organizations advocating for increased public access to the historic meeting place on the US-Mexico border. However, the passion for a park ripples widely throughout both of our nations, especially for those with friends and loved ones on the ‘other side’ of the visitation-debilitating mesh metal fence.
In addition to the developing design of International Friendship Park we will occasionally post brief profiles of and interviews with our members and supporters, telling the stories of those who are passionate about the park, and why.
Today we launch "In The Field" with one of #FoFP’s own driving forces, María Teresa Fernández.
María Teresa is a “Wandering Border Photographer” who has documented the Tjuana/San Diego border fence since 2000. She began sharing her images with the Friends of Friendship Park in 2007 (most of the images on our websites are hers), and with the families who visit their loved ones there. As she explains, “I share them with all who wish to give a voice to this space that holds so much heart.”
She is a generous and passionate believer in a binational space, and as this at the edges article states, has "played a key role in documenting the struggle to save Friendship Park." María Teresa and her work have also been featured in the LA Times, the BBC, the Cornell Chronicle, Ithaca.com, and several gallery exhibitions in the U.S. and Mexico.
We will also share some of her video work in the coming weeks and months, but for now we leave you with a very small sampling of Maria's massive and powerful body of work.
Growing up in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, I was flooded with creativity. Since I was young I had the privilege to witness works of art and being exposed to all this beauty inspired me to study Art. I did not excel in making the actual art, but I could identify it in other people. I felt I had a keen sensibility to acknowledge artistic creativity. I actually explored being a full time artist for fifteen years by molding the souls of my four children. I left my own country to relocate in San Diego and seeing Mexico from a different perspective made me realize that those living along the border surfaced their dreams, hopes, anger, despair, fears, and their daily life and exaltations through a very creative medium. These evoked emotions became their palette and the border fence transformed into their canvas. My lens allows me to witness and acknowledge how man, time, and nature daily recreate the body and soul of this border fence. My camera captures expressions of words that paint pictures. The shapes, textures and patterns speak their own language with a diverse range of natural elements and added color. The border fence becomes alive to show the creativity of minute delicacies, ruins and fossils from its own life and the lives of those people dealing with problems and adversities who touch it.
— Maria Teresa Fernandez