Drue Kataoka
Drue Kataoka

The Border, Wounded Paintings

Medium: Sumi ink, shikishi, Bushmaster BA50 (.50 caliber) rifle-created bullet holes
Dimensions: 40 x 31 cm
Created: 2011

The Border, Wounded Paintings

The wounded painting series explores what divides us — the borders, both physical and metaphorical, and violence. A Bushmaster BA50 (50 in/127 mm caliber) rifle was used to shoot bullet holes in the paintings in the Sonoran Desert at the US/Mexico border near Douglas AZ.

The Sonoran Desert today is one of the top narco-trafficking domains in the world and a very violent place, controlled by the Sonoran Drug Cartel. It is also one of the most active immigration and human trafficking routes globally. The daylight temperatures even in November (when the bullets were shot) can go up to 30 degrees Celsius and below freezing at night. It was a powerful, and dangerous, experience, to shoot these paintings right by the border in the desert, but Drue wanted to embed it in the artistic language of these paintings. In the following paintings, Drue wanted to embed this mix of misery, hope, violence, hunger for life, and the complex relationship between man and nature that the Sonoran Desert so powerfully conveys.

The Border, Wounded Paintings - detail

Shot at night at the US/Mexico border

The Border, Wounded Paintings - detail

Closeup of bullet holes

The Border, Wounded Paintings - detail

The Shell

The Border, Wounded Paintings - detail

Detail of coat

The Border, Wounded Paintings - detail

Back view of bullet holes, blossoming like flowers of evil