Hostile Terrain 94


Hostile Terrain 94

February 23 - March 19, 2021
FAB Gallery
Admission is free and by appointment only. Please see Ticket Information for details.

Hostile Terrain 94 is a global participatory art exhibition organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP). The University of Alberta exhibit has been organized by Jaymie Heilman, Professor of Latin American and Caribbean History, with the assistance of PhD candidate Laura Velázquez.

The exhibition aims to illuminate the humanitarian crisis that has been occurring at the United State/Mexico border since 1994. That year, the United States Border Patrol launched the immigration enforcement strategy known as “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Through the construction of walls along the US/Mexico border, undocumented migrants were funnelled through extremely treacherous environments.

Prevention through deterrence failed to discourage people fleeing their home countries in search of safety and security, and, instead, more than six million people have attempted to migrate through the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona since the 1990s. In Arizona alone, over 3000 people have died, largely from dehydration and hyperthermia, while attempting this desert crossing.

The Hostile Terrain exhibition is composed of approximately 3,200 individually handwritten toe tags – each tag carries the names and available information about individuals who died attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona from 1994 through 2019. Over 300 UofA students, faculty, staff, and Edmontonians participated in online workshops to complete the tags between September 2020 and February 2021.

The exhibit was made possible through generous support from the Emil Skarin grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban, and the Department of History, Classics, and Religious Studies.

2020-21 Ticket Information

FAB Gallery, 1-1 Fine Arts Building

Free admission.

Please contact Kalyna Somchynsky at FAB Gallery by email ( to schedule an appointment to view the exhibition. Hours are limited and vary due to COVID-19. Please inquire about available appointment times directly with FAB Gallery.

Note that the entrances to the Fine Art Building are locked for security purposes. The main entrance is located across from the Transit Centre and next to HUB Mall. Please call the gallery at 780-492-2081 and someone will let you into the building. Parking is located on 111 St behind the Fine Art Building and adjacent to HUB Mall.

Masks are mandatory within the gallery and social distancing between visitors must be maintained. We are currently not allowing groups over 10 individuals into the gallery in compliance with COVID-19 recommendations of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. The health and safety of our community is top priority. Thank you for your patience and support.

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