French street artist, JR, created a massive art installation on the Mexican side of the US border wall in early September 2021.
JR's artwork about immigration displays a child peering over the fence into the United States.
Since JR announced his installation without warning on his Instagram account, it has touched many people passing by. Opening up about his vision for the project, he had this to say:
"Each time I've seen walls that have caught my attention, or that I've heard about a lot in the media, they would stick in my mind. I would even dream about it. When Trump started to talk a lot about a wall along the Mexican border, one day I woke up, and I saw a kid looking over the wall. I was wondering, 'What is this kid thinking? What would any kid think?' We know that a one-year-old doesn't have a political vision or any political point of view. He doesn't see walls as we see them."
The installation is located in the Mexican city of Tecate, about one hour southeast of San Diego.
During the five months of scouting the area to find the perfect location for his installation, he met a child named Kikito and his family. Kikito was JR's inspiration, and the child in the photograph looking over the fence.
After JR revealed the artwork's location on his social media, the border became a pilgrimage site, with people gathering on both sides to meet, mingle, and take photographs.
JR and curator Pedro Alonzo, who helped organise the project, arranged a picnic on both sides of the fence to celebrate the end of the temporary installation.
A large wooden table was placed on both sides, the United States and Mexico, and people gathered for the potluck lunch. Even though half the members stood on American and half on Mexican soil, both sides played the same music to celebrate the day.
Kikito's presence looking over the fence put a touch of humanity to the immigration debate, asking people to engage in a way they otherwise would not have.