Artist's Statement

Andrew Cullen

Resting Places is a long-term project that uses the poetry and power of place — departure, journey, and destination —to explore and amplify the lives of undocumented migrants who die while crossing the US-Mexico border.

I navigate to sites in the Arizona desert where migrants have died, using a public database to find the exact locations and a handheld GPS unit to guide me to them. At each site, I create landscape photographs that serve as portraits of people who should be visible but are not. During the course of this work, I’ve created a visual syntax including images that evoke a human presence, reference the circumstances of specific migrants’ deaths, demonstrate the threats that make crossing the Arizona desert so difficult, and allude to Western and Judeo-Christian iconography surrounding death. The project contemplates humanity as defined by its absence, underscored by the beauty and brutality of nature.