To help install the seesaws, Rael and San Fratello collaborated with Colectivo Chopeke, a Juarez-based artist collective. And when everything was finally in place, children from Anapra joined Rael in riding on the seats, bouncing up and down with their fellow riders on the U.S. side.
Of course, it's unlikely that three seesaws could recast the tense and difficult discussions around U.S. immigration policies that have divided families from loved ones. Reflecting the high-profile attention the border has gotten, both Mexican soldiers and U.S. Border Patrol agents were present during Sunday's event.
"U.S. Border Patrol did not have a problem with it, nor did soldiers from Mexico," Rael says.
The bright pink teetertotters brought a new chance to see the border through the eyes of people who live along the divide — and for those people to see each other in a new light, even if their view was confined by tall steel slats.
"The joy that was shared this day on both sides is something that will stay with me forever," Rael said on Instagram Tuesday, in an update about the project. With that message, he posted a video of people playing on the pink seesaws, smiling at each other through the fence.
Even before Sunday, the concept of putting seesaws on a border fence had already drawn acclaim for Rael and San Fratello. They note that their original drawings and models for a "Teeter-Totter Wall" are held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
While the original idea sprang forth as a way to contemplate trade and labor imbalances, the seesaws have taken on added meaning as President Trump has imposed strict policies along the border and vehemently spoken out against illegal immigration.
As Rael and San Fratello said via email, the seesaws are meant to tell the story of "how the actions on one side of the border have direct consequences on the other."