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Hostile Terrain 94 Exhibit

Posted by on Thursday, August 12, 2021 in Uncategorized.

A Participatory Art Installation Project Examining the Humanitarian Crisis at the US/Mexico Border

September 7 – October 5, 2021  ·  Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt University  ·  Nashville, TN

Sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies; Department of Anthropology; borders of citizenship group; and the Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University

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The Hostile Terrain 94 exhibit is composed of approximately 3,400 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert from the mid-1990s to 2020. These tags are geolocated on a wall map of the Arizona—Mexico border, showing the exact locations where human remains were found. The physical act of writing out the names and information for the dead invites participants to reflect, witness and stand in solidarity with those who have lost their lives in search of a better one. This exhibit is taking place at nearly 150 institutions across 6 continents with the intention to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis at America’s southern border and to engage with communities around the world in conversations about migration.

How to Participate

The installation at Vanderbilt will be created by visitors to the exhibit throughout September 2021.

GROUPS: If you would like to participate by filling out the toe tags as a group (organization, class, etc.), please review the date availability here and follow instructions to sign up to visit. Please submit your group participation request at least 3 days prior to your preferred date.

For secondary school field trips, contact Colleen McCoy (

INDIVIDUALS: Interested in participating in the exhibit as an individual and not with a group? Feel free to visit the exhibit in the Sarratt Gallery (Vanderbilt University campus) any time 12:00-4:00 PM CDT on September 10, 11, 12; 12:00-2:00 PM CDT on September 17, 12:00-2:00 PM CDT on September 18, and 12:00-4:00 PM CDT on September 19. A docent will be available to help facilitate your participation.

Visitors to Vanderbilt University are welcome. The university’s current Covid-19 policy requires all visitors from off-campus (regardless of vaccination status) to wear a mask inside and outside.


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Opening Reception for Hostile Terrain Exhibit 

4:00 PM CDT · Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt University

Join us to open and reflect on the participatory art project “Hostile Terrain 94.” Public reception, all are welcome, masks required. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

International Lens Screening of Immigration Nation: Prevention Through Deterrence

7:30 PM CDT  ·  Sarratt Cinema, Vanderbilt University

Introductions and Q&A hosted by Edward Wright-Ríos (History). 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Public Reception and Talk by Jason De León, exhibit creator

Explore the completed installation, then hear from exhibit creator and founder of The Undocumented Migration Project Dr. Jason De León (University of California Los Angeles).

5:15 PM CDT Public Reception (Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt University)

6:00 PM CDT Public Lecture by Jason De León (Sarratt Auditorium, Vanderbilt University)


The exhibit is sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies (CLACX), the Sarratt Gallery, the Kefi Collective, the Borders of Citizenship Group, and the Department of Anthropology. Special thanks to Tiffiny Tung (Anthropology), David Heustess (Sarratt Gallery), Edward Wright-Rios (History), María Magdalena Campos-Pons (Art), and CLACX: Celso Castilho, Avery Dickins de Girón, Colleen McCoy, and Sofia Ludwig.

HT94 is organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a 501(C)(3) nonprofit arts-education-research collective aiming to humanize the migrant experience between Latin America and the United States.

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