20 Jan 2021

Hot Pink Teeter-Totters at the US-Mexico Border Win Beazley Design of the Year

As we end today, I am glad I never have to hear about “building the wall.” For years, this topic brought us both sadness and pain. As a country that has strong values in building bridges and bringing people together, the wall couldn’t have been more divisive.

Two Oakland based artists, [Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello] came together to bring their playful idea to the border. In July 2019 at the border of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, three pink teeter-totters were installed to connect both sides. While the installation seemed timely given the tension brought on by the administration, the project itself had been a decade in the making. Though the teeter-totters were used for only an hour, it left a lasting impression. Known for being used by children, you can see in the photo that it is being used by both children and adults. The message that this symbolizes is the unity between children and adults and that both countries can work together to physically lift each other up.

When asked about the administration separating families at the border, Rael shared this re: the proejct:

The teeter-totters represented the kind of balance necessary for any two people, two nations, to achieve equality, with the understanding that the actions on one side have direct consequences on the other. The teeter-totter is the physical manifestation of the Golden Rule—treat others as you would like others to treat you—a maxim that is shared by all cultures and religions. To experience joy on a teeter-totter, you must allow the other person to experience joy as well.

This highly prestigious award was given to the two artists from London’s Design Museum.


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