Ever since he started campaigning for the United States presidency in 2016, Donald Trump has been promising to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the US-Mexico border. In response to this pledge, Enrique Chiu, a Mexican artist and a former immigrant to the US, embarked on a large-scale mural project on the existing border fence to challenge Trump’s notion of a “beautiful wall.”
Since Election Day in the US in December 2016, Chiu has been working with more than 3,800 volunteers to paint uplifting messages of peace and togetherness along the Mexico-facing side of the US-owned border fence. Once completed, the “Mural of Brotherhood” will stretch for a mile in Tijuana in the West of Mexico, and will continue through shorter segments across Tecate, Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez, and Nacozari, to finally reach Reynosa in the south.
“The murals spread messages of peace to people crossing the border by car or on foot,” Chiu told Hyperallergic in an email. “They’re also intended to be a final glimpse of hope for migrants risking danger as they cross northward.”
In July 2017, he told the Mexican newspaper La Jornada that the existing fence and proposed wall “are a sign of rejection and exclusion. The Mexican people, the Hispanics and Latinos are the ones that hit that wall. A wall of incomprehension.”
Chiu speaks out of his own personal experience as an immigrant. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, he crossed the border with the US with his mother when he was eight. The two lived in Los Angeles without legal status for one year before returning to Mexico. Later in his life, Chiu returned to the US to attend California State University, Long Beach on a student visa and remained in the country for 12 years.
“When I was living [in California,] I was living the American dream,” Chiu told Hyperallergic. “I went to school, I had my business, I had my house, my gallery, my studio, three cars. I had everything there.” In 2009, he decided to return to Mexico to become part of Tijuana’s flourishing arts scene. “You can live the American dream here, too, and you can do whatever you want,” he said.
In 2017, the Trump administration tested eight wall prototypes in Otay Mesa, San Diego across from Tijuana on the other side of the border. The prototypes were not just graded by their effectiveness, but also by their aesthetics, with emphasis on the appearance of their US-facing side. All eight prototypes — four full concrete mockups, and four from mixed materials — failed a basic penetrability test. In 2018, eight improved models tested in San Diego finally passed the US military’s penetrability tests. However, an ongoing standoff between Trump and the Democrats in Congress over funding for the wall, which culminated in a government shutdown, has so far prevented the president from fulfilling his plans.
What would it look like if museums turned their billions toward positive good instead of questionable investments simply for profit?
Patricio Guzmán combines reflection on the past, observation of the present, and hope for the future into an expansive vision of all the ideas he’s explored in his work.
Artists reflect on histories of oppressive power structures in Brazil in this exhibition at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
So closely do Disney’s animators assimilate the sensibility of French design that on occasion their source material appears almost more Disney than Disney itself.
The Grand Avenue Billboard Project enables artists like Karen Fiorito to publicly express their political views.
The museum opens to the public on October 8 with a 24-hour kickoff and a rebooted California Biennial.
The report estimates that 6.7 million Indigenous objects and human remains continue to be held in Canadian institutions, most of which do not have formal repatriation policies.
Funding options at UB include full-tuition scholarships for MFA students, the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program, and additional opportunities for MA students.
The Association of Art Museum Directors announced a shift in its longstanding policy, which restricted the use of funds from sales of art to new acquisitions only.
Martín Mobarak may have broken Mexican law, but he burned the proof.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including the Maya Codex of Mexico at the Getty, Beatrice Wood, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and more.