Hostile Terrain 94

August 21, 2021 - September 5, 2021
May Department Stores Foundation Foyer

Hostile Terrain 94 (HT94) is a global pop-up exhibition composed of thousands of handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who died in the Arizona desert between the mid-1990s and 2019. During this time period the United States Border Patrol’s policy, “Prevention through Deterrence,” effectively shifted the crossing of undocumented migrants from traditional urban ports of entry along the US–Mexico border to more remote, depopulated regions where the harsh natural environment was expected to be a deterrent to migration. Instead of reducing the number of people attempting to migrate, however, thousands have died, largely from dehydration and hyperthermia. The toe tags in this project identify each individual and are pinned onto a wall map at the exact location where remains were found.

HT94 is being exhibited at locations across the United States and around the world. The 3,200 toe tags in the St. Louis display were filled out by members of the widespread Washington University community—students studying remotely, alumni, friends, family members, supporters—from eight locations spanning the East Coast to the Great Plains, as well as in St. Louis, echoing the widespread effect of this humanitarian crisis. Prominently displayed in the Museum’s lobby, the HT94 project is intended to spark conversations about borders and border crossings and their impact on global and local communities today.

HT94 is based on the research of the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological study of clandestine movement between Latin America and the United States.

Learn more about HT94@WUSTL >>


HT94@WUSTL is sponsored by the International and Area Studies Program, the American Cultural Studies Program, the Department of Art History & Archeology, the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, all in Arts & Sciences, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement and Institutional Diversity. It will be on view at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum from August 21 to September 5, 2021.