Sun | Nov 19, 2017

Giant portrait of toddler peers over US-Mexico border

Published:Tuesday | September 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM
A Border Patrol vehicle drives in front of a mural in Tecate, Mexico, just beyond a border structure on Friday in Tecate, California.

TECATE, California (AP):

A photo of a giant toddler stands in Mexico and peers over a steel wall dividing the country from the United States.

The boy appears to grip the barrier with his fingers, leaving the impression the entire thing could be toppled with a giggle.

A French artist who goes by the moniker "JR" erected the cut-out of the boy that stands nearly 65 feet (20 meters) tall and is meant to prompt discussion of immigration.

JR has done other large-scale portraits around the world, with much of his recent work focused on immigrants.

He told reporters at Wednesday's unveiling of the portrait that he was spurred by a dream in which he imagined a kid looking over the border wall.

 

Scouting spots

 

A year later when JR was scouting for the perfect spot for his project, he noticed a house in Tecate near the border wall. He and a Mexican friend knocked on the door to see about the possibility of locating it around there. After they drove away, it occurred to him that the 1-year-old at the home who had been staring at them reminded him of the boy he had dreamed about.

JR and his friend immediately went back. JR asked the woman if he could photograph her son. She knew his work and agreed.

JR said he did not intend for the project in Tecate to coincide with the news about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

"Now as an artist I think that it's amazing that the piece arrived at a moment when it creates more dialogue," he said. "Because the idea itself is to raise more questions."

JR has erected other large-scale portraits in the slums of Paris, from the top of buildings in Rio de Janeiro, and set up giant photo booths from Israel and Palestine to the United States.

The latest piece will remain in Tecate for a month. JR hopes people will view it from each side.