A #NoKidsInCages installation on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, New York (Photo by Leah Rosenzweig for Hyperallergic)

A political pop-up installation project depicting caged children accompanied by audio recordings of detained migrant children appeared today, June 12, in 24 locations across New York City. The haunting installations protest the separation of children from their families at the Mexico-US border. The installations, many of which were placed outside of major media companies, went viral on social media before NYPD removed them.

Titled #NoKidsInCages, each of the installations features a realistic child-like mannequin curled up in a foil blanket on a small mat inside chain link cage. The child figures are heard sobbing and weeping inside the cage.

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a Texas nonprofit that provides legal services to immigrant families and refugees, and the advertising agency Badger & Winters, are responsible for the project. “Guerrilla installations popped up early this morning in NYC as protest to the more than 3000 children separated from their parents at the border,” RAICES wrote on Twitter. “This is not history. This is happening now. #NoKidsInCages is about the children. We cannot be a nation that separates families.”

The installations were spotted outside the offices of the New York Times, Buzzfeed, Vice, CNN, NBC, Fox News, Newsweek, Refinery29, the Huffington Post, and Instagram. They were also found at busy New York landmarks including the Brooklyn Bridge, Chelsea Market, and Union Square. Others were placed outside cultural institutions like The Natural History Museum and Columbia University.

The NYPD has been covering up and dismantling the cages, the Gothamist reported. At Broadway and Houston, in lower Manhattan, three NYPD officers called in a special unit to deinstall the cage. Eight of the cages were dismantled by noon, according to the Gothamist.

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Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is Co-Editor of News at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative...