It just so happened that his art installation went up the same week as the Trump administration’s decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
French artist JR recently installed the image of a one-year-old child peering over the U.S.-Mexico border into California from Tecate, Mexico. JR has made a name for himself in the art world by plastering his images on the walls all over the world but this one was different – JR created his own wall in the likeness of a young child. JR’s work had one mission: express the futility of stopping migration. He also wanted to make the U.S.-Mexico border wall seem ridiculous with the building of his own, child-shaped wall looming behind it, according to NPR.
“People will always migrate,” JR told The New York Times. “When we built walls, people built tunnels. When we closed places, they went by the water. The history of humanity is the story of people migrating. Of course, that has to be regulated.”
It just so happened that JR’s installation at the border wall coincided with the announcement by the Trump administration to rescind DACA, a program specifically for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. JR mentions to NPR that he was happy with the response he received on social media about this piece of art.
“Most of the people, if you read the comments, they were not talking politics or they didn’t mention the name of the president,” JR told NPR. “It was about people.”
As South Los Angeles and its surrounding communities continue to face the threat of gentrification, both community residents and artists have begun to feel the effects of displacement.
As a result, a group of artists, including Patrick Martinez and John Carlos “Barrio Dandy” De Luna will be displaying their work in an upcoming exhibition titled, “Barrio Logos: Displacement and Vanishing Iconography,” aimed at preserving the legacy of Chicano/o resistance in a city whose Chicano style and aesthetics have been appropriated around the world.
Located at the Residency gallery, directed by Rick Garzon, in the rapidly changing city of Inglewood, Barrio Logos is part of a larger art initiative titled Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, which is hosting a range of art events and exhibitions aimed at creating a dialogue between Los Angeles and Latin America art.
Barrio Logos is the only PST LA/LA participating exhibition taking place within South Central Los Angeles.
Curated by Oscar Magallanes, the upcoming exhibit takes place in a city that is 50 percent Latino, and serves as the backdrop for popular HBO series, “Insecure.” Magallanes urges viewers to think about the historical impact of displacement in the context of a Chicana and Chicano legacy that stems back to the mid-19th century Mexican-American war.
Additionally, the upcoming exhibit, Magallanes explained to mitú over the phone, builds on the book, titled, “Barrio Logos,” written by author, Raul Villa, which explores how California Chicanos have used expressive culture to oppose community-destroying forces like urban renewal programs and massive freeway development for survival.
Through art, Adriana Coral explores human rights issues.
But the idea for the show,” explained Magallanes, “also came from hearing about Pacific Standard Time and not hearing that anything was going on in South L.A. or Inglewood. I knew it would be important for different communities and galleries and community spaces that represent Latino art to be involved.”
L.A. native Patrick Martinez will also be one of the artists featured in the show. Through his art he’s creating discussion around cultural appropriation of Chicano style around the world.
CREDIT: Patrick Martinez. what you gonna do now? (haircuts look airbrushed) / Mixed media on acrylic / 72 x 72 inches / 2014
As fashion companies continue to glorify Chicano aesthetics, the show’s curator hopes it can help people understand that there are dire consequences for Chicanas and Chicanos in L.A who continue to be victims of hyper-policing.
“People gravitate towards Chicano culture and style all over the world,” he said, “While it continues to be criminalized here in L.A.,” he explained.
“What does it mean that people in Japan can celebrate the culture but we can’t even go cruising in LA? There’s an underlying racism that informs the artwork in this show.”
Barrio Logos will run from September 23rd through December 16th.
About PST: LA/LAPacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is the latest collaborative effort from arts institutions across Southern California. Through a series of thematically linked exhibitions, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA will present a wide variety of important works of art, much of them new to Southern California audiences. While the majority of exhibitions will have an emphasis on modern and contemporary art, there also will be crucial exhibitions about the ancient world and the pre-modern era. With topics such as luxury objects in the pre-Columbian Americas, 20th-century Afro-Brazilian art, alternative spaces in Mexico City, and boundary-crossing practices of Latino artists, exhibitions will range from monographic studies of individual artists to broad surveys that cut across numerous countries.