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Photos: A Street Artist Just Put Up This Giant Portrait Looking Over The U.S./Mexico Border Wall
On Wednesday, French street artist JR revealed his latest work in progress: a towering portrait of a young Mexican boy, looming over the U.S./Mexico border wall. The unveiling came a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration's plans to phase out the DACA program, leaving the futures of the more than 800,000 undocumented American DACA recipients deeply uncertain. The installation is physically installed on the Mexican side of the border in Tecate, and visible from the American side.
The work is "roughly 20 meters [approximately 65 feet] high by 20 meters wide," according to Marc Azoulay, who runs JR's New York studio. The image is printed on paper and wheat-pasted onto a scaffolding structure. The scaffolding installation took approximately four weeks to complete, and the image took "a couple of days to paste."
The actual photograph is of a one-year-old Mexican boy named David Enrique (nicknamed "Kikito") who lives in Tecate, Mexico in "a house right by the border," according to an Instagram post from Azoulay.
"We first scouted in May and found this location then... The timing is fortunate, that's it," Azoulay said via email when asked if the installation was intended to specifically comment on DACA.
We reached out to Customs and Border Protection, who did not have any comment because "the artwork installation has been constructed in Mexico and is not affixed to any border infrastructure." According to Azoulay, the artist has not had any problems with Mexican authorities over the project.
JR will be speaking in Los Angeles Thursday (tonight) at Blum and Poe with curator Pedro Alonzo for a discussion on immigration in the artist's practice and his recent large-scale public works. The conversation will take place at 8 p.m.
If you'd like to visit the installation, JR's studio has provided GPS coordinates for where it is visible from the American side of the border. The location is about three hours southeast of Los Angeles.
Related: A Look At JR's "Unframed" Exhibit On The South Side Of Ellis Island (Gothamist)