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As the Trump administration seeks $18 billion over the next decade to more than double the length of the US-Mexico border fencing, one artist has another plan for the barriers.
Mexican artist Enrique Chiu is working to cover the existing border wall in colorful murals. His ultimate goal is to paint connected works there that span over 600 miles — which would become the world’s longest mural.
Chiu sees the project, called the “Mural of Brotherhood,” as “a way to unite the two nations that are divided.”
Take a look at his work below.
Mexican muralist Enrique Chiu started producing murals on the Mexican side of the US border in December 2016. Community volunteers have been helping.
Since then, his team has painted 1.3 miles of works on border fencing in Tijuana, Mexico. Chiu hopes to continue painting on the barriers to create the world’s longest mural.
The Pueblo Levee Project along the Arkansas River levee in Pueblo, Colorado held the Guinness Record for the world’s longest outdoor mural, which stretched 3 miles long. But in 2015, most of the paintings were destroyed when the levee needed repairs.
The works, which often include images found in Mexican folklore, can take a full day or several weeks (depending on the size) to complete.
Chiu, who has worked as an artist for 18 years, has painted over 80 murals in 10 cities across California, Mexico, and Guatemala.
Chiu considers himself an advocate for migrant and immigration rights. The murals are meant to “leave a positive message to support Latino people,” he said.
They’re also intended as a form of protest against the border wall that the Trump administration wishes to build, he added.
“There has always been a border united by the border cities. If the interest was to maintain peace in the world, [the Trump administration] would promote education and equality in the US, not violence and racism,” Chiu said.
On December 29, President Trump tweeted that Democrats who wish to protect Dreamers (immigrants who came to the US illegally as children) must come up with a package that includes a wall and reforms to the US immigration system. Otherwise, he will not offer a deal on DACA.
To paint on the Mexico side, Chiu gained permission from his country’s border security department. He hopes to eventually make it a binational project, and paint on the US side too.
This year, Chiu will also install a 50-foot-tall sculpture that represents peace at the border.
The murals symbolize the “stories of deported migrants and people who have crossed and lived the American dream,” he said.
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