Art & Oppression: Artist's Statement

Dan Gemkow

Along the Border

For the last six years, I have traveled over 50,000 miles on intercity bus lines through four countries so I can work on two projects involving bus travel. Along the way, I have crossed the US/Mexico border four times. The views are both fascinating and haunting while traveling on either side. The corporate footprint is evident while on the United States side of the border. In Southern Texas, the highway included views of the massive and grassless plot of the Cargill Meat Solutions Plant where the cattle stood and seemingly gazed at the fast moving vehicles. In Juarez, Mexico the remains of former homes or businesses (to destroyed to tell which) appeared war torn to passersby on the long road.

Every time the bus approached a station or a stop, I began taking landscapes through the bus window. When the bus stopped, I started making portraits of fellow passengers in the process of waiting for another departure. While traveling from Texas to California, the buses are also stopped at border patrol checkpoints. Agents check each passengers identification card or passport. Those who do not have the proper status are escorted off the bus and then deported.This series of pictures, called Along the Border, combines the photographs I shot while on and off the bus on each side of the border.