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Borderless vision unites U.S. and Mexico

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Bebé Kikito mira sobre la frontera hacia los Estados Unidos de Tecate, México, 40 millas de éste de San Diego

Bebé Kikito mira sobre la frontera hacia los Estados Unidos de Tecate, México, 40 millas de éste de San Diego

Jocelyn Moran

Jocelyn Moran

Bebé Kikito mira sobre la frontera hacia los Estados Unidos de Tecate, México, 40 millas de éste de San Diego

by Jocelyn Moran, Mundo Azteca Editor

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A baby peering over the fence at the U.S-Mexico border from Tecate, Mexico, drew people from both sides of the border to share a picnic around a dreamer’s eyes on Oct. 8.

With it being the last day of the art installation of baby Kikito, JR, the French artist who photographed Kikito, took the opportunity to display the eyes of Mayra, a dreamer from the Bay Area who preferred not to give her last name, by having half of the tablecloth with one eye on the Mexico side and the other half with the other eye on the U.S. side.

JR said he would see people visit the border to take a photo of the piece, and a lot of them would ask others on the other side of the fence to take a photo of it from their view.

“I realized that was happening every day, and that gave me the idea of doing a big lunch for the ending of the piece where people would eat together,” JR said. “When you look from above, you don’t see the wall anymore. It almost looks like a little line in between the table.”

JR’s artwork of Kikito has attracted tourists from different parts of the world in the U.S. and in Mexico after it was revealed on Sept. 6 on JR’s social media.

“I always put my artwork on walls,” JR said. “I often dream about walls. When I heard about this wall a lot in the media recently, I wanted to go see by myself.”

JR said when he got there, he realized people were living really close to the fence and then met Kikito.

“I wondered what he was thinking at one year old,” JR said. “How do you see the wall? How do you see a fence? How do you see a frontier when you’re one year old and don’t have any political sides or choice or vision. That’s how I photographed him.”

SDSU alumnus Ralph Enriquez said he attended the picnic with his family and said it’s important to bring different kinds of ideas to the border.

“Lifestyle, art and culture are a lot greater than just politics,” Enriquez said.

Guadalupe Ramirez, Mayra’s mother, said she was scared in the car as her and her daughter were getting closer to the border. She said she was excited because she was accompanying Mayra, but once they got on the dirt, she told Mayra to go back because she couldn’t see anyone.

“I convinced her and we were leaving,” Ramirez said. “But then, there were more people coming and she asked them if they were going (to see the art piece), and they said yes, so she went back.”

Ramirez said once she saw Border Patrol, she told Mayra she felt scared.

“(Mayra) told me ‘remember, you haven’t been here in a long time, and you’re going to be able to remember your pathways.’”

Ramirez said once she saw the fence, she was excited but also felt sad at the same time.

“You see this fence so tall, but you also get excited because you see how far you really are from one step toward there and one step toward here,” she said.

Mayra said she met JR at a random moment, and after talking about how he wants to make an impact in communities by capturing real people who are walking down the street, he asked her to use her eyes.

“I am that regular person just walking down the street,” Mayra said. “It was a connection.”

Kikito, along with his parents and community members from Tecate, attended the picnic as well.

JR said as an artist, he never knows where his image will go or what it might do.

“You hope it changes the perception, and that’s already a lot, by changing the vision we have about things,” JR said. “And today, the energy that happened in between people almost made us forget about the wall. It’s a small achievement between people.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Borderless vision unites U.S. and Mexico”

  1. April Abarrondo on October 18th, 2017 1:59 pm

    Great story and wonderfully crafted video.
    Thank you for covering this.
    I have been a JR fan for some time and I can’t wait to see this person.

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