Things That Matter

Kids On Both Sides Of The Border Wall Now Have Something Small To Smile About Thanks To An Artist Who Installed Seesaws

Lately, when you think of the U.S-Mexico border, you think of the children being kept in cages, of migrant folks being kept in unthinkable conditions in detention prisons, and you think of the possible construction of Donald Trump’s beloved wall–among other negative connotations that the border brings. Then there are times when heartwarming images and scenes from the border show that despite the weaponization of the border, we’re still connected to one another in many ways. 

Architect and artist Ronald Rael designed and installed pink seesaws at the border for children from the United States and Mexico to play together.

The art installation, “Teeter-Totter Wall,” was created by Rael, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San Jose State University.

The custom-built seesaws were placed on both sides of the steel border fence that separates the U.S. and Mexico. The artist called it “one of the most incredible experiences of his career” in a post he shared on Instagram. 

About a decade ago, both Rael and San Fratello had designed the concept for the seesaw at the border for a book titled “Borderwall as Architecture.” Now, the drawings became a reality. 

Despite the negative headlines that dominate the news cycle every day, it’s refreshing to see artists like Ronald Rael use their platform and creativity to spark positivity and strengthen our sense of community. 

“The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S.-Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side,” Rael wrote in his Instagram caption. Rael also gave a shoutout to the team who helped make this powerful art installation a reality in Cuidad Juárez, Mexico.

CNN also points out that the New Mexico town is also where a militia detained migrants in April (the ACLU called it a kidnapping), and where a private group began building its own border wall with the use of millions donated to a GoFundMe campaign. 

Last week, the Supreme Court also gave Trump a victory in his fight for the construction of a wall along the border. Further, the Supreme Court allowed the administration to use $2.5 billion in military funds for it. 

Despite all of the negative news surrounding the border, it was a different scene there on Monday near the Sunland Park stretch. Instead, it showed a heartwarming and lighter scene compared to what we’ve recently seen.

The art installation that this artist created is also meant to serve as a reminder. A reminder that “we are connected” and “what happens on one side impacts the other.”

The pink seesaws showed people from both sides of the border coming together in a unifying act. Children and adults alike on U.S soil were recorded playing with children from the other side. These light-hearted scenes from the border make one for if only a second forget the actual reality of it all. 

RAICES, a non-profit focusing on immigration legal services in Texas, shared on Twitter that “Art is such a powerful vehicle for change”

In the past, other scenes of art installations at the border have made rounds. For example, The Guardian notes the time when an architectural practice in Mexico designed a pink interpretation of Trump’s border wall. 

Claudia Tristán, the Director of Latinx Messaging for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke also praised the art installation for the message it spread. 

“The symbolism of the seesaw is just magical,” she wrote in a tweet. “A #Border fence will not keep us from our neighbors.”

The video of architect and artist Ronald Rael that’s also making rounds on social media shows him saying that the seesaw that there are still “good relations the people of Mexico and the United States.” Therefore, the seesaw can portray that we are “equal” and the wall, he says, cuts those relationships between us. 

Ultimately, it is important to remember that with or without the U.S.-Mexico border, much of this land belonged to and will always belong to Native Americans.

We need to remember that the homelands of tribes including the Kumeyaay, Pai, Cocopah, O’odham, Yaqui, Apache and Kickapoo peoples were all split into two by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the 1853 Gadsen Purchase–which is what makes up modern-day California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas

So while it is important to highlight the positive and humanizing images on the U.S.-Mexico border when we can, we should also be mindful of the indigenous communities to which this land belongs to. 

Mexican Twitter Reacts To The Trump And AMLO Meeting And The Results Are The Level Of Petty I Aim To Be

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Mexican Twitter Reacts To The Trump And AMLO Meeting And The Results Are The Level Of Petty I Aim To Be

Win McNamee / Getty Images

During the week, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) flew to the United States – in coach, we might add – to meet with Donald Trump.

From the very beginning, many Mexicans were outraged at the thought of their elected president flying to meet with a man who has repeatedly demonized their country and people – we don’t have to look too far back to when Trump denigrated Mexican migrants and threatened its southern ally with crippling tariffs.

With this visit, many feared that AMLO would continue acting as Trump’s lapdog as he has in so many other instances – from border security to migration enforcer – and it appears that many of their fears unfortunately came true.

Mexico’s AMLO flew to meet Trump in his first trip outside of Mexico since becoming president.

Trump welcomed Mexico’s AMLO calling him a cherished partner and claiming that the two countries’ economic and security ties were reaching new heights. Sorry, but what world is this?! These warm words were a stark contrast to the days when he called Mexicans “rapists” and railed against migrants entering the US illegally.

But AMLO returned the favor, saying that it was good to find common ground and avoid throwing insults.

“As in the best times of our political relations, during my term as president of Mexico, instead of insults towards me and more importantly against my country, we have received from you understanding and respect,” AMLO said.

The official reason for the AMLO-Trump summit was to celebrate the signing of the recently renegotiated US-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA), which was formerly known as NAFTA. The agreement officially went into effect on July 1, 2020. However, the two also discussed how to jointly combat the Coronavirus pandemic, which has raged across both countries as other parts of the world get it under control.

AMLO actually thanked Trump for being “so kind” to Mexico – this just sent Mexican Twitter into overdrive.

After the meeting on Wednesday, President AMLO lauded Donald Trump in Spanish for showing “respect” to Mexico and “not treating us like a colony”.

And in one of the first videos to begin making its round, was this quintessential Trump moment – where he shows such little respect for the Mexican President.

Reactions to the trip reflected Mexico’s own political polarization. A pre-trip poll published by the newspaper El Financiero showed 59% support for travelling to Washington, though 85% of Mexicans disapproved of Trump.

AMLO remains relatively popular – despite polls showing worries over his handling of issues like crime, the economy and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mexican Twitter didn’t disappoint with the memes – memorializing AMLO’s trip forever.

AMLO is known as being an austere man and he’s tried repeatedly to sell the Mexican presidential aircraft. So, just as he does when traveling across Mexico, AMLO flew commercial to Washington – amid a global pandemic no less. This was too good an opportunity for Twitter to pass up.

Many had been anticipating the memes for weeks.

Some pointed out they were just as excited for the memes as President AMLO probably was to be in Washington, taking in the sights and visiting the White House. But it’s worth pointing out, that AMLO has been to D.C. in the past – just not as his country’s president.

Many were concerned about AMLO’s visa application to make it into the U.S.

Given the Trump Administration’s inhumane and harsh immigration policies, some Mexicans wondered if their president would even be allowed to visit Trump. The Trump Administration has basically eliminated or severely limited every legal route to migration that there is.

Some saw something in AMLO’s eyes that they wanted for their own partner…

Some thought that AMLO may have been looking a little too enamored with a man who has repeatedly demonized his country and fellow paisanos. But in that look, they also saw something they wanted in their potential partners: “Hermanos, stay with someone who looks at you like AMLO looks at Trump.”

Some thought that once again AMLO was being far too subservient to Trump.

Some doctored up images of past visits to the White House to really drive home the point that AMLO has been doing much of Trump’s dirty work in Mexico. From deploying armed soldiers to enforce U.S. immigration law at the country’s border with Guatemala to placing refugees and migrants in detention centers, AMLO has been a key part of Trump’s plan to halt immigration.

Others shared images of the gifts that AMLO brought Trump.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these t-shirts – I have several. I mean we all have that tía who goes on vacation and brings them back to us, right?

Given the stark differences between the two leaders, this meme is a bit far-fetched.

AMLO is a far-left ‘man of the people’ and Donald Trump is a far-right ‘man of the people,’ or at least that’s how they view themselves in their minds. Both leaders follow populist agendas but do so from very different points of view.

Someone Claims That They Discovered A Long-Lost Frida Kahlo Painting But Experts Don’t Agree

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Someone Claims That They Discovered A Long-Lost Frida Kahlo Painting But Experts Don’t Agree

Frida Kahlo - La Mesa Herida - The wounded Table - Der verwundete Tisch / YouTube

Frida Kahlo is one of the most iconic artists in global history. The Mexican artist was known for blazing her own path both in art and in society. One of her most famous paintings “The Wounded Table” has been missing for 65 years but one art dealer claims he found it.

A Spanish art dealer claims to have found a long-lost Frida Kahlo painting.

Kahlo painted “The Wounded Table” in 1940 and over the years it disappeared. It is unknown if it was returned to Moscow, was lost, or destroyed. All that is known is that Kahlo’s largest painting to that date is gone.

Cristian López Márquez, a little known art dealer in Spain, claims to have found the long-lost and highly sought after painting. According to La Voz de Galicia, the art dealers claims to have acquired the painting from some who settled in Spain from Mexico.

The painting is one of Kahlo’s most famous works of art.

The decades-long mystery about where the painting ended up does add to the allure of the claim. However, people are not convinced that the painting is a fake that is being peddled by someone who is after money by selling an inauthentic painting. To make matters more skeptical, the art dealer has very few details but is adamant about its authenticity.

“Time will give us the truth,” Márquez told AP. “Whoever proves genuine interest and the ability to pay the figure of 40 million euros, can spend as much time as wanted with their experts analyzing the work.”

Despite Márquez’s claims, art historians are very skeptical that the painting is true.

Márquez claims to have the painting safe in a warehouse in London. He has put the painting on sale asking for $45 million. No one seems to be biting but Márquez continues to say the painting is an original.

READ: Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Is Celebrating Her 113th Birthday With A Week Full Of Digital Events