These World-Famous Artists Are Flipping the Script on Border Walls

Where some see a wall, others see a canvas.

That’s the case with renowned international artists Ai Weiwei and JR, who are transforming symbols of intolerance and division into artwork that challenges authority and the public perception.

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“The biggest wall we see is the one inside of us,” French photographer and artist JR told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos in an interview along the U.S.-Mexican border for this week’s Real America with Jorge Ramos, airing Tuesday night on Fusion.

Ramos caught up with JR shortly after the French artist completed his latest masterpiece, a 65-foot-tall billboard featuring an image of a 1-year-old toddler named Kikito, who appears to be peering over the border wall from his home on the Mexican side.

The real Kikito poses with his mother on the Mexican side of the border

The real Kikito poses with his mother on the Mexican side of the border

The massive outdoor artwork, which has captured people’s imaginations in both countries, lends a human face to the current border wall drama and raises serious questions about the future we’re building between neighboring countries.

“What I believe this image can do is change the perception you have about a place,” JR told Ramos. “If you change perceptions people have about each other, things might change.”

“Art defies authority. Art defies walls.”

- Jorge Ramos

But change will always be unlikely if people remain indifferent to the suffering of the less fortunate.

“The greatest danger is not terrorism or nuclear war but indifference of people who live in the peaceful world not being conscious about this danger,” famed Chinese activist and artist Weiwei told Ramos while giving a tour of his New York City exhibit, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.”

An artist’s job, Weiwei explained, is to challenge people to view the world through a different lens.

For more on this story, tune in Tuesday night to watch Real America with Jorge Ramos on Fusion at 10 PM.

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