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Atlanta artist is erecting massive Westside wall to stoke conversation

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Built by undocumented workers, installment will stand 40 feet long and invite written public opinion, graffiti

A photo of the artist Joseph Guay constructing his thought-providing barrier.
The artist constructing his thought-provoking barrier.
Photos: Joseph Guay

Expect double-takes aplenty next week when a massive concrete wall rises somewhere west of Midtown.

Atlanta artist Joseph Guay will debut a site-specific public art installation called “The Border Wall” on Thursday in a West Midtown location yet to be disclosed.

The proportions sound impressive.

Constructed of welded steel, rebar, and concrete, the structure will stand 40-feet long and 16-feet tall, weighing more than 25,000 pounds. Guay says it’s modeled after the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.

It’s being built—at a “secret location,” no less—by undocumented Mexican labor workers, but Guay insists the piece isn’t partisan or political. Rather, its purpose is “to create social awareness of the issues surrounding immigration in the United States,” he writes.

Guay’s website indicates the wall will be in place until October.

The public will be encouraged to contribute opinions on the wall through writings and graffiti.

“Through this, [Guay] hopes to start a narrative that is bipartisan and nonpolitical. All opinions are welcome,” according to public relations group Liz Lapidus PR, which is helping spread the word.

For context, Guay provides the following caption for the photo beneath it:

“Here is what 16 feet by 10 feet of steel and concrete looks like... Imagine when I complete the 40-foot foot section of this Border Wall installation... Imagine when our country decides to complete the 10,501,920-foot border wall (covering 1989 miles).”

The steel structure.