Border poet and activist Daniel Watman used to organize cross border poetry readings on both sides of the border fence in Playas de Tijuana. Since the US added a second and much bigger fence to the border the meetings are being held with the use of sign language and megaphones… Daniel is also a co-creator of the bi-national garden in Playas de Tijuana (photo above, EMPATHY painting by Ana Theresa Fernandez). The garden is ‘one’ but on both sides of the fence, also accessible from the U.S. side in Friendship Park.
Q: How does living on the border affect you as an artist and activist:
A: “The border has been the central part of my life and work for the past twelve years or so. I was heavily into it and the idea of transcending barriers back near the end of 2006 when I was observing the beginnings of a new border wall and infrastructure that was to completely alter the landscape of our region parting the unified hearts of the people of the region. I knew the only chance to stop it was to stand in front of the bulldozers but instead I decided to film and observe in hopes that others would act. I felt a deep regret that I was unable to get myself to take this action when it may have made a difference and realized that it would probably take me a lifetime of work toward reversing it. That regret and realization has been a part of my determination to work at a consistent and persistent pace to try to create, in my corner of the world, a world without borders through connecting people and the art, culture, and environmental colaboration. I feel we are currently in a moment where things have come to a head. I feel the current vitriol and support for hate and separation in the United States is the last throws of an outdated regime and is creating a unification of people who recognize how connected the world is which makes me very hopeful for our future.”