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ART - Border fence becomes art medium

By: Cesar Neyoy - Bajo El Sol

SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. — A group of Mexican artists have made a statement about border issues and world affairs in a series of mural they recently painted on the south side of the fence between this city and San Luis, Ariz.

And while the murals might serve to make the fence more attractive visually, they don't necessary portray it in the best light.

“The murals have different themes,” said Mauricio Villa, one of the Baja California artists who took part in the project. “The border fence is like a lost space. We wanted to portray a little of the sad aspect of the division that the fence signifies.”

The fence, he added, “reflects the lack of a fair immigration policy that divides family and has caused deaths.”

Villa and other members of the arts group named Arte Publico (Public Art) came to San Luis Rio Colorado on Dec. 10 to paint the murals on a 100-yard stretch of the fence on the city's east side.

Using aerosol cans, they created the murals on the original fence erected by the U.S. government in the early 1990s. In recent years, additional layers of fencing have been put up as part of efforts to further seal off the border at San Luis against smugglers or illegal immigrants.

Villa said the San Luis Rio Colorado officials were supportive of the group's plans to paint the mural.

“In places like Mexicali, (painting murals in public places) is considered visual contamination,” he said.

“We do it only for the satisfaction. We don't earn anything from it. All we do is promote awareness of this form of expression.”

The murals are located in the area of 26th Street, which runs perpendicular to the fence.

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