Sunday, December 3, 2023

Message behind cheesy border wall is that it’s wasteful: artist

With a promise to “Make America Grate Again,” a Canadian artist has taken the initiative to start work on the United States president’s border wall.

But it’s not made of any of materials that formed the wall prototypes that were under study last year — it’s made of cheese.

Cosimo Cavallaro has begun construction of a wall made of Mexican cheese just a couple of meters away from a barbed wire-topped border fence in Tecate, California, opposite the Mexican city of the same name in Baja California.

Cavallaro is building his 305-meter-long with blocks of expired cotija cheese from Michoacán, and hopes the waste on evidence in his wall will help people reach the same conclusion about the wall proposed by Donald Trump.

“To spend all this money to keep dividing the countries, I think is a waste. You see the waste in my wall, but you can’t see the waste in [Trump’s] $10-billion wall, which in time will be removed?”

The new border wall takes shape near Tecate, Baja California.
The new border wall takes shape near Tecate, Baja California.

Cavallaro is known for working with perishable food in his art to demonstrate what he sees as decadence in the way people live and the fleeting nature of material goods. In previous projects, Cavallaro used 200 pounds of chocolate to create a statue of Jesus Christ, constructed a bed from ham and covered a hotel room in mozzarella.

The artist said he decided to go ahead his longstanding idea to build a cheese wall in 2016 when Donald Trump announced his intention to construct a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

He explained that he also draws inspiration from “our cheesy times,” such as late last year right before an impending shutdown of the U.S. Congress over funding for the actual border wall. He said House Republicans called an emergency meeting to address a cheese bill called the Curd Act, a proposal to allow cheeses to be advertised as natural despite having artificial ingredients.

Cavallaro said that so far border patrol agents have not interfered with his work on the wall, which currently measures 1.5 meters high and nine meters long. The artist said all the funding for the $100 blocks of cheese and the rent of the 14-acre plot of land where he is building has come from a GoFundMe campaign and sales from t-shirts and mugs bearing slogans such as, “Make America Say Cheese.”

Cavallaro said he hopes that rather than being seen as a political statement, the installation shows that people are better off without walls that divide and inspire fear.

“It sounds cheesy, but just love one another.”

Source: 24 Horas (sp), Los Angeles Times (en)

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