The French street artist JR has presented a challenging image of cross-border interaction, just as US president Donald Trump declared his intent to wind down a program that allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children the ability to stay and work in the US.
Along the US-Mexico border near Tecate, Mexico, JR erected a massive black and white photo of a child looking over the border fence towards the US, with an amused smile.
JR’s installation comes just days after Trump announced that he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) after a six-month delay. The boy pictured is a 1-year-old that lives in Tecate, Mexico, according to the New York Times.
In an interview with the New York Times published Sept. 7, JR didn’t speak directly about DACA, Trump, or the border wall that was one of his signature campaign promises. Instead, he spoke in more general terms about the nature of borders and the mindset of children.
“As an artist, I try to bring back perspective,” he told the Times. “For this little kid, there are no walls and borders.”
JR’s signature style is of larger-than-life photos that loom over public spaces, pasted on walls and boards with wheatpaste. His installations typically aim to amplify the diverse, everyday faces of today or from the history of the places he visits.
This isn’t the first time his subject has been immigration. In 2014 he completed an installation inside a disused building on Ellis Island in New York, a place that was the entry point for immigrants to the US in the 19th and first half of the 20th century.