What is the best way to protest the construction of the US-Mexico border wall? Build a gigantic picnic table that extends into both countries, then invite friends from near and far to enjoy good food. Such is what French street artist JR did earlier this year, and the photos of the event will make your day.
In 2017, the artist painted “the eyes of the dreamer” on top of a bench that extends into the small, Mexican town of Tecate and San Diego County. The artwork was the focus of a binational picnic. Though the set-up lasted only one day, it made a powerful impression.
In a post on Instagram, JR wrote that people, on Oct 8th, 2017, sat on the benches at the “giant picnic” enjoying the sun, conversation, and food.
“[P]eople eating the same food, sharing the same water, enjoying the same music (half of the band on each side) around the eye of a dreamer,” he wrote.
GIANT PICNIC at the border today in Tecate … around the eye of a dreamer … we forgot the wall for a minute … pic.twitter.com/ECpRmUNFLl
— JR (@JRart) October 8, 2017
JR created the installations after President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program in September. As CNN reports, the program was enacted through an executive order by former President Barack Obama. The Trump administration gave Congress a six-month window to find an alternative solution to protect the approximate 800,000 undocumented immigrants, also referred to as “Dreamers.”
Reportedly, JR was surprised the picnic table wasn’t shut down. According to a source, he thought the picnic “was clearly forbidden.” But, after co-artist Mia Maestro recorded herself bringing tea to a US Federal Agent on one side and JR on the other, his concern faded away.
In the video below, JR asks the border agent: “Will you share tea with me now?” The agent replied with a small smile, then clinked their cups together. “Salud,” said the artist.
I often found an « angel » that helped us make the impossible possible … The picnic today was clearly forbidden and yet possible… pic.twitter.com/YzjJ4fatfH
— JR (@JRart) October 9, 2017
This isn’t the first time JR has trolled Donald Trump with his art. In September of 2017, the artist installed a billboard that showed a baby peering over the border wall.
The picnic occurred on the same day the White House released a series of asks for a DACA deal. They included tough border security and immigration enforcement measures, reports CNN.
— JR (@JRart) October 9, 2017
The day after the event, JR thanked supporters on Instagram. “Thanks to all the dreamers that joined us yesterday,” he wrote.
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