Artist Chiu and a portion of his mural. Artist Chiu and a portion of his mural.

Artist’s border mural seeks Guinness record

But the 18,000-square-meter project is also a protest against 'wall of incomprehension'

Prototypes of United States President Donald Trump’s new border wall are to be presented today in San Diego, where officials will prepare to select the design that will fence the U.S. from its southern neighbor.

But it may end up being more than just a fence: a Mexican artist has thoughts of turning it into a canvas.

Tijuana artist Enrique Chiu has already begun painting the border wall. He took his paint brushes to the fence on the beaches of Tijuana, in an area known as Toreo, last December and began to paint.

His goal is to paint a mural that will cover more than 18,000 square meters and capture the Guinness record for the world’s largest outdoor mural, a title currently held by a 12,000-square-meter mural in the U.S. state of Ohio.

But the Brotherhood Mural, as Chiu has named his project, is intended to do more than break a record.

The existing fence and the proposed wall on the Mexico-U.S. border, he told the newspaper La Jornada in July, “are a sign of rejection and exclusion. The Mexican people, the Hispanics and Latinos are the ones that hit that wall. A wall of incomprehension.”

The project, he explained, is dedicated “to all those people who are looking for a better life. Who take enormous risks. Or those have been deported and are separated from their families.”

Chiu’s project has already created a brotherhood of painters, bringing together people on both sides of the border to be part of the epic art project. And they are coming from other places as well.

More than 1,000 people have turned up to help, coming from Japan, China, France, Guatemala, Spain and elsewhere. “We realized that this is not just the Mexican people’s border,” Chiu told the newspaper El Universal yesterday.

“This project suddenly became a movement. A spontaneous form of organization and protest.”

The Brotherhood Mural is both large and small in scope. “The large-scale mural can be seen from afar. But we also leave small messages that can be read by the migrants . . . We leave messages of support, of hope.”

So far, parts of the border fence located in the Mexican municipalities of Ciudad Juárez, Tecate, Naco and Reynosa have been painted by volunteer hands. The intention is to paint at least a stretch of fence in every border town. “If we could, we’d paint it all, but that’s impossible. As impossible as bulletproofing the border strip as promised by President Donald Trump.”

But if Trump’s wall is built, Chiu intends to paint it too. “I am a muralist. If you put another wall in front of me, I’ll paint it. If they do put up the wall it’s another canvas where people can paint, where people can express themselves along the border.”

Source: El Universal (sp), La Jornada (sp)

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