Immigration

Innocent 'Kikito', the larger than life photo of a child who knows no walls or borders

The 70-foot-tall artwork, created by the French artist JR, is an eye-catching attraction at the Tecate border, designed to highlight the innocence of young immigrants such as those awaiting word of possible deportation after the rescinding of DACA.
6 Oct 2017 – 12:31 PM EDT

What is this curious child thinking as he peers over the border wall?

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LOS ANGELES, California - He is only a year and five months old and his photo has already gone viral.

Known as "Kikito," hi image towers over the border fence at Tecate, Mexico, where it seems as though he is playing with a new toy.

The boy looking out over the rusty metal fence that divides The Unieted States and Mexico is part of an art installation by the French artist Jean René, better known as 'JR'.

"As an artist, my intention is to question," JR told Univision News during a visit to Los Angeles to talk about his art project which was inaugurated Sept 6.

The border work was inspired by a dream JR says he had of a child peeping over the border wall. When he woke up, he wondered: "What would he be thinking". "We know the implication, what that (the wall) represents, how it divides, but for a child, I did not have the answer," he said.

"I could have done a 'photoshop', but the physical work attracts people, makes people look, places it in context, questions and creates an opinion," said the 34-year-old artist.

While talking to area residents to ask for permission to construct the work, JR had a case of deja vu. He found a baby in Tecate who from his cradle ressembled the baby in his dream, so he asked the mother's permission to take a picture and turn it into the project. "He looked was exactly like the boy I dreamed about," JR said.

The resulting "Kikito" is JR's most recent work on migration, following other pieces he has done with African migrants in Italy, the Syria refugees and New York's iconic Ellis Island which witnessed millions of migrants in the first half of the last century.

"The history of humanity is the story of people who migrate," he said. "People will always emigrate."

The inauguration of 'Kikito' came a day after the Trump administration announced the rescinding of the DACA program to protect young undocumented immigrants who arrived ilegally in the U.S. as children.

"It's a coincidence, because for me it's not a political issue. As an artist I try to offer a perspective, and for this child there are no walls or borders. I hope this piece offers hope and a better dialogue," said JR.

Although this artist often works on walls, this time his installation overshadowed one. The main objective, he says, was to "build a larger wall that would make this border look ridiculous."

The work, which is 70 feet high and 55 feet long, will remain in Tecate at least until the end of this week.


SLIDESHOW: While Trump demands a border wall, an artist makes the fence disappear

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