In the last decade, border controls have tightened so much that frequently artists are denied entry into countries. Take, for example, the denial of 5 Iraqi artists into Britain last April, who were part of a prestigious art show in Manchester, and the two artists that were refused visas into Scotland in 2009.
It’s not just a security issue however. The strict border laws are also motivated by economics. Last summer, Asheville performer Claire Elizabeth Barratt was denied entry into Canada – a country she has visited several times in the past – because of a discrepancy concerning her teaching a workshop. The border patrol didn’t like the idea of Barratt receiving payment in Canada so they denied her entry.
This is a real tragedy because artists and intellects are being denied collaborative opportunities and the exchange of information. While information transmitted via Internet has never been greater, vital face-to-face collaborations are being threatened. And it’s not just amongst visual artists: musicians, writers, Nobel Prize Laureates, dancers, athletes and intellectuals all face a growing epidemic of tightened border controls.