A Collaborative Story

About the Project

At present, there are more than 117 million displaced persons around the world. In recent years, the US Southern border has experienced a surge of migrants fleeing increased violence and economic crisis in Haiti, Venezuela, and across Central and South America. In 2020, title 42 was reactivated restricting immigration at land borders in an effort to curb the spread of infectious disease amid the pandemic. As a result, border authorities expanded deportations and access restrictions, leading to record numbers of migrants and asylum seekers to be forcefully removed from the US or held in legal stasis. With humanitarian exemption granted to some, but not all, the policy has caused unprecedented pressure on not only the US borders but legal systems and ultimately those making arduous and often dangerous journeys for their human right to safety and a better life.

Recent events, including a fatal fire killing at least 39 migrants at a detention center in Juarez, have demonstrated how dangerous the journey has become and has exacerbated socio-political and geopolitical confrontations in the US and Mexico. The scale of the crisis has also caused it to become increasingly abstract in contemporary discourse, serving more as a tool for hard-line immigration and xenophobic political campaigns than reflective of the personal lives and stories of those who take on this journey.

Drawing from his personal ties and documentary exploration of ongoing crises in his home country of Venezuela, Oscar B. Castillo in partnership with Wil Sands, spent months documenting and collaborating with migrants in Mexico and at the US border. BordersCruzadas is the result of shared efforts to present a visual, evidentiary case for urgent, effective and coordinated public policy and humanitarian aid of the globally displaced. A preview of this project is currently on view at the AWP Gallery, with the expanded exhibition on view in The Hague in June 2023. 

about the artists

Public Program

April 12, 2023

As part of EXPO Chicago, ART WORKS Projects, in partnership with CASE Art Fund, hosted “From BordersCruzadas to Borderlines,” an exhibition and discussion featuring photographers Oscar B Castillo and Wil Sands, alongside Cathy Edelman, co-founder of CASE Art Fund. This two part project explored the lived experiences and geography of border politics and immigration at the Southern border of the United States, outside of the deeply politicized debates which often overshadow the individuals and landscape at the heart of the conflict.

View this exhibit

BorderCruzadas: A Collaborative Story is on view at 625 N Kingsbury St. until May 12th from 11am to 4pm on Tuesday and Thursdays, and by appointment. Contact for more information or to book appointments

Chicago installation of BordersCruzadas

resources & tools


While working on the BordersCruzadas project, Oscar B. Castillo published two articles, “Migrants Risk it all on ‘La Bestia,’” in the New York Times and “A Venezuelan Family’s Three-Thousand-Mile Journey to New York” in the New Yorker.


March 2023 saw a 25% increase in the number of migrants who were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico Border. This is consistent with a historical pattern of increased migration in the spring months.


support for this project

Project Partners

BordersCruzadas is an ongoing and collaborative project that will be expanded into a participatory program involving community engagement, workshops, and more. Please consider making a contribution towards a matching grant challenge to unlock $10,000 towards this project.