American photographer Zoe Leonard spent four years between 2016 and 2020 photographing the stretch of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo river that is used to delineate the boundary between the US and Mexico. Four years that marked a particularly contentious period between the two countries. Four years during which a wall was built to separate them.
Today, an exhibition of these photographs is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, and it is incredible. So many of the photographs are of entirely mundane scenes. Vehicles driving down roads. Water patterns in the river. Children playing outside. But Zoe Leonard never indicates from which side of the river she’s shooting from, thereby challenging each and every one of your perceptions and stereotypes of the two countries.
There were hundreds of photographs on display and they were all beautiful. But I was particularly drawn to any photograph that showed the aforementioned wall. History has shown us repeatedly that walls never work. And yet we continue to try and separate ourselves. Leonard’s photos are a stark testament to the futility of this exercise.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!