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Artist JR Installs New Piece on U.S.-Mexico Border

JR's massive photograph of "Kikito," a 1-year-old Mexican boy, overlooks the border with the U.S. from Tecate, Mexico. (JR / Twitter)

French visual artist JR, known for his commentary on social issues through large-scale photographs, has installed a new, provocative piece of art in Tecate, Mexico,  a U.S.-Mexico border town.

The work shows “Kikito,” a young Mexican boy, peeking over the Mexican side of the wall and visible from the American side.

According to Marc Azoulay, who runs JR’s New York studio, “Kikito” is actually the nickname of a 1-year-old Mexican boy named David Enrique who lives in a house by the border in Tecate.

The piece has been installed during a particularly fraught time for U.S.-Mexico relations, as the Trump administration repeatedly threatens undocumented immigrants and works to build a wall between the countries. The image of the small boy is particularly poignant given the administration’s decision Tuesday to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which could lead to the expulsion of 800,000 “Dreamers”—undocumented immigrants brought as young children to the U.S. from Mexico by their parents.

Although JR has not made any major statement about the installation, the youthful innocence of “Kikito” as he peers into American territory represents the optimism and hope felt by many immigrants and, ultimately, their children.

JR, Azoulay and Los Angeles photographer Rick Rose posted video and photographs of the installation process on social media:

One wall, two roads

A post shared by marc (@marc) on

Almost there…

A post shared by marc (@marc) on

JR says the piece will remain on the border for a month. According to LAist, his studio has released the coordinates of the installation for anyone who wishes to visit it.

Emma Niles
Assistant Editor
Emma Niles, an assistant editor at Truthdig, graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a degree in political science. She has worked for the National Women’s Law Center and Ms. Magazine.…
Emma Niles

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