I started the "Mural of Brotherhood" on the border on Election Day 2016. The project consists of painting the border wall between Mexico and the U.S. that stretches for a mile in Tijuana, and it's still growing. Thousands of people have joined the project to shed light on the immigration issue and bring a glimmer of hope to a topic that's sparked so much debate in recent years.
Since then, more than 5,600 people have participated in the project, and some of them have taken the idea to other cities or countries and created a mural of brotherhood in support of migrants or for human rights. They've also invited me to give lectures or act as a speaker for projects that promote and support these issues.
The "Mural of Brotherhood" has also been replicated in Egypt, Guatemala and Berlin, and I've had the opportunity to work with migrants on the South and Central American border, Kenya, Bangladesh and South Africa, and recently I gave presentations about it in Cairo, Egypt, in CDMX and last year in Abu Dhabi with the embassies of Mexico and Berlin - where I've also been able to interact with other artists and thousands of people who've joined the project over these five years. We also turned the project into an exhibition program of paintings and photographs, as well as a documentary film ("This Side Has Dreams Too" that's been shown in several countries).
The Mural of Brotherhood connects art with society. It's a work of art that connects with a cause to show the world a space of empathy, solidarity and peace, in areas where tragedy, danger, violence, discrimination and division between people are recurrent.
Living on the Mexican-American border inspired me to create the "Mural of Brotherhood" as a community project, seeing so many people moving through the city: Migrants, deportees and tourists.
For me, the border is a place to reflect on what happens every day with global phenomena like migration. It's a binational space where there's a unique culture in the way they do things. Instead of dividing people, it should unite them through music, art and cultures. That gave me the idea to work more among people associated with borders, and create a different style by embracing all cultures.
My work on the Mural of Brotherhood has opened up great opportunities and events. Moreover, from the first year, it came to unite people, the public and the media, and international promotion was achieved!
Solidarity allowed the exhibitions to continue in different cultural areas, while creating a global cultural movement.
For more than 20 years I've been doing what I love: painting and creating works that I've always imagined.
Art for me is a very important part of change - it's a moment of expression, emotion, change used positively, communication and connection between people.
Being able to create goals that connect art with society, humanitarian projects, and use my art with children, youth and social projects has been a fascinating journey.
Throughout my life I've been inspired by many artistic projects involving activists, artists and revolutionaries throughout history, and I found the moment to act: I thought at that moment that I'd do it because I thought of the people who could follow me to the common front.
I believe that art is definitely a necessity. It's one of the most sublime ways to express ourselves. People have always used art as a means of communication and as a source of human development, and I've always hoped that my art would evoke an emotional response in some way.
I also believe that everyone interprets art differently, but the best thing is that there's an expression that can touch and influence many people.
In my travels around the world, I've experienced many different forms and attitudes - people who believe that what I do is good, and others who believe that what I do is useless. I think it depends on how you perceive my art and how far you want to go with an idea.
Most people only see what they want to see, but I think Art is a source for exploring humanity, and we can use it for social issues and activism for good. My purpose is to highlight social issues like migration, child abuse, cancer, HIV, human rights, and other issues that affect the communities I work in.
My plan is to continue this project and take it to more countries, continue to paint the border and continue with this message.
I hope to take it across borders and continue to get people to paint and express themselves, to leave a legacy with young artists and to make a mark among the artists who have participated in this project, but also to promote an artistic lifestyle with a cause.
I believe the most important achievement is to create positive, creative spaces and share these ideas with people who can do things that show human values.