Just weeks after trolling President Donald Trump’s reversal of the “Dreamers” program with a 65-foot tall image of a toddler peering over the US-Mexico border wall, the French artist behind the installation is back, eyeing the border once again. This time, the artist has installed Giant Picnic, an enormous table spanning both sides of the wall and adorned with two eyes. The artist, who goes by the name JR, said on Instagram that he painted “the eyes of the dreamer” atop the installation extending across Tecate, Mexico and Tecate in California.
Picnic-goers on both sides of the border came together to break bread at the fully functioning table during the one-day display.
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GIANT PICNIC at the border today in Tecate … people 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 … we forgot the wall for a minute …
A post shared by JR (@jr) on Oct 8, 2017 at 3:17pm PDT
“People 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… we forgot the wall for a minute,” JR, the artist, said.
JR is known for his large-scale artwork inspired by social themes, which he has installed — often without official permission — all around the world, in places spanning from Sierre Leone, to Japan and Brazil. Though he acknowledged that his picnic artwork was technically forbidden, it was not shut down, and during the Sunday display he even paused for cup of tea with a border patrol officer.
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Over the many bowls of tea I’ve served this has been one of the most memorable ones. Tea at the border of México & USA. A Bowl for the Dreamers 👁 THANK YOU @JR for making us part of this incredible day ✨ #migrationisahumanright ・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・ #Repost @jr For the last 10 years, I have been working in conflict zone, jails, borders and I always found an « angel » that helped us make the impossible possible … The picnic today was clearly forbidden, and yet it was not shut down. It’s always worth trying 👁 📷 Roberto De Angelis & Tea by @miamaestro
A post shared by miamaestro (@miamaestro) on Oct 9, 2017 at 9:38am PDT
In September, JR erected a billboard-sized painting of Kikito, a one-year-old boy looking over the steel bars of the Tecate border fence. The artwork went up just as Trump announced he was rescinding the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.
The Giant Picnic event coincided with the White House issuing a long list of hard-line immigration demands in exchange for a deal to keep the DACA program, which would allow the 800,000 “Dreamers” to remain in the country. Among the measures delineated by Trump are a widely panned campaign proposal to construct a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, a pledge to restrict federal funding for “sanctuary cities” and a tightening of the green-card system that would limit lawful permanent residents.