March 10 marked the deadline for anyone interested in helping the Department of Homeland Security design Trump’s border wall to submit concept papers of a prototype. While nearly 200 firms, as CityLab reported, may have seriously taken up that challenge — and thus be complicit in reinforcing xenophobic attitudes — art director Maddy Kramer began building a rather different wall of her own.
That day, she launched “The Most Beautiful Wall,” a virtual concrete wall to feature art made by immigrants. The concept is simple, displaying artworks in an assortment of frames on an otherwise blank wall that you side-scroll to view. Yet, it’s a meaningful gesture to turn a symbol of divisiveness into a vision that not only celebrates diversity, but also highlights the individual voices and visions of those whose lives are affected by borders they cannot control. It is also a more heartfelt design than that of DOMO Design Studio, which wants to create an entire complex that grossly aestheticizes the border wall.
“I’m a first-generation American, my parents are both from Argentina, and I grew up in Miami surrounded by a diverse community,” Kramer told Hyperallergic. “I’m proud of my Hispanic heritage. When Trump first proposed the wall, I knew I had to speak out and use his own words to make a point. I wish the project shows and gives the message that together we can conquer any walls, that art is more powerful than any way to divide us because art is inclusive, and it has no gender, or nationality.”
Kramer began working on the site after completing her Woman Card Project, which invited designers and illustrators around the world to create playing cards of influential women, from Malala Yousafzai to Hari Nef to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Since she launched “The Most Beautiful Wall,” she’s received about 40 submissions so far, from images of paintings to photographs and works of graphic design. Not all are political, with the only condition for submissions being that they are not offensive. Most of the works on display are also accompanied by their creator’s country of origin; they’re uploaded in no particular order, so scrolling through is an experience that overlooks any kind of categorization. While Kramer’s wall is one that supports immigrants rather than disrespecting them, it does have one thing in common with Trump’s vision: it spans approximately about 19,o00 miles — albeit in virtual space.
“One mile is equal to 6,082,648.79694 pixels,” she said. “We have a lot of pixels to cover.”