LA FRONTERA: Artists along the US-Mexican Border

 A long term project by photographer Stefan Falke

Since 2008 I have visited most major and some smaller cities on both sides of the 2000 miles long U.S. – Mexico border and photographed about 200 painters, photographers, musicians, writers, dancers, architects and art promoters in order to shine a spotlight on the vibrant cultural activities and cross-border opportunities that exist despite the tremendous challenges in this bi-national region.

The region has particular significance to me since I grew up in Germany with a border dividing my country into East and West until it came down in 1989. Meanwhile the steel ‘wall’ between the United States and Mexico is growing in length and height and does its part to create a physiological and physical barrier between the the two countries.

Lately I have been focusing on artists who work specifically with border and migration related issues and/or are migrants themselves, like Artistas Fronterizas, the three opera singing women who perform on both sides of the border to promote cross border culture (their story here), or photographer Tom Kiefer who collects and photographs migrant’s possessions taken from them in a detention center (his story here), or Haitian painter Nixon Tervine, whose journey through all of South America ended in Mexicali, Mexico, and who sells his art to motorists crossing the border north (his story here), or artist Alvaro Enciso who puts up crosses in the Sonoran Desert to remember migrants who did not survive the long journey north (his story here).

Unfortunately the pandemic has brought my project to a halt but I am hoping to continue it soon!!

I am trying to show that most people on both sides of the US – Mexico border are very passionate about their bi-national region and the unique opportunities and cross-border collaborations and friendships that come with it. I chose artists for my project because they always seem to have a finger on the pulse of their communities, and reflect their status in real time; I believe these artists deserve our attention. I hope my project is adding a positive and humanitarian aspect to the usual negative stories about the border region and the people who live and work there.

LA FRONTERA was featured by:

The New York Times, BBC, The Huffington Post, Wired, aCurator, The FORWARD THINKING MUSEUM, Hyperallergic, L’Oeil de la Photographie, AI-AP Pro Photo Daily, Hahnemühle, FAZMagazin, Courrier International, Trip Magazin, Photoville  and many others. Please also see Press on this website.

LA FRONTERA exhibitions:

Casa del Tunel (Tijuana, Mexico), Casa Familiar (San Ysidro, California), The Mexican Cultural Institute (Washington, DC), IMAS Museum (McAllen, Texas), Cervantes (Frankfurt, Germany), The Mexican Embassy Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Germany), Photoville 2014 (Brooklyn, NY,supported by the Mexican Cultural Institutes of New York and Washington DC, and BRIC Media House, Brooklyn), The Triennial of Photography 2015 (Hamburg, Germany), Deutsches Haus (New York City), Goethe Institut (Washington DC), Festival Tijuana Interzona (on the border fence at San Ysidro Port of Entry, Tijuana, Mexico 2016), Galeria 409 (Brownsville, Texas, 2017), CEART (Mexicali, Mexico, 2017), SDSU Gallery (San Diego, USA, 2017) , D.A.I. Tübingen (Tübingen, Germany, 2017), German-American Institute (Stuttgart, Germany, 2018), American Space Leipzig, (Germany, 2018), Steppling Art Gallery at SDSU Imperial Valley(Calexico, California), Centennial Museum at UTEP (El Paso, Texas, 2019), Galerie Max Hünten Haus Zingst (Germany, 2021, photos here).

All images © Stefan Falke www.stefanfalke.com

The LA FRONTERA website: borderartists.com

La Frontera on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaFronteraArtistsAlongTheUsMexicanBorder

La Frontera on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/borderartists/  @borderartists

Stefan Falke Biography:  stefanfalke.com/About-|-Clients-|-CV

I work for international magazines, film studios and corporate clients ands I live in New York City. I am the author of 3 books: “MOKO JUMBIES: The Dancing Spirits Of Trinidad”, a photo essay about a stilt-walking school in Trinidad, and “LA FRONTERA: Kuenstler entlang der US-Mexikanischen Grenze“ and KEEP GOING NEW YORK !! New York City in 2020.

Please visit my website www.stefanfalke.com for references.

My work is represented and distributed by the German photo agency laif (www.laif.de) with partner agencies (like REDUX Pictures in New York) worldwide.


email: stefanfalke@mac.com

web: www.stefanfalke.com  

phone: (+1) 917 – 214 9029

Stefan Falke Photography

200 West 26th Street

New York, NY 10001


La Frontera Project
Photo of Stefan Falke by Neil Beckerman


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