A baby peering over the Mexican border wall created by French artist JR at first just caught the attention of people in the area of Tecate, but now the 65-foot-tall public artwork has gone nationwide, judging by its appearance on news and social media sites.
Tecate is split between California and Mexico and the baby sits on the Mexican side. The very public artwork was erected earlier this month.
The artist, going by the pseudonym JR, told Public Radio International that the image of a baby looking over the wall came to him in a dream, long before President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protected some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.
"Of course, I hadn't planned it," JR told PRI. "We did the piece, and I just posted one image that says 'work in progress,' and that image went around the world and back. And I didn't have the time to say what it meant. I didn't have to because it was pretty clear already."
JR reportedly has done similar larger-than-life pieces in Cuba, Tunisia, Iran, Palestine, and Brazil. He has often drawn attention to places where the "residents' humanity and individuality are habitually ignored or subsumed in political rhetoric," The New Yorker magazine said.
"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," JR told The New Yorker. "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."
JR told National Public Radio that he saw a child that became his inspiration for the image that was actually used for the public artwork while visiting Tecate and asking residents for permission to erect the work on their property.
At one home, he said, he saw a child in a crib "eavesdropping on their conversation" while he talked to the mother.
"There was a little kid looking at us the whole time with two hands on the side of his crib looking at us and I was like, 'Damn, he looks exactly like that kid I dreamed of,'" JR said, per NPR, adding he said he was able to get the mother's permission to use the child's photograph.
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