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Latino Daily News

Wednesday June 22, 2011

Border Fence Mural Taken Down, but Saved

Border Fence Mural Taken Down, but Saved

Photo: Border Fence Mural Taken Down, but Saved

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A 60-foot-long mural painted on a section fence along the U.S.-Mexico border has been saved from the scrap yard thanks in large part to the efforts from people in both countries.

The mural, titled “Vida y Sueños de la Cañada Perla” or “Life and Dreams of the Perla Ravine,” was painted in 2005 by artists from both sides of the border on the Sonoran facing side of the fence, which separates Nogales, Arizona form Mexico.

It is a replica of a 1998 mural painted by Tzetzal Indians in Taniperla, Chiapas. The original was created to share the Tzetzals’ lives and dreams after their separation from the Zapatista revolutionary municipality. “However, on April 11, 1998, a day after the mural and the autonomous municipality were inaugurated, the Mexican Army retook control of the town, destroyed the mural and jailed the man who had directed its creation, university professor Sergio Valdez,” Nogales International wrote.

During the creation of the replica in 2005, Valdez was brought to see the project, at which point, U.S. crews informed the artists that the fence on which the mural was painted would likely soon be replaced by a 2.8-mile-long landing-mat fence with a taller, stronger barrier. He said he also learned that while some were trying to take the replica down, others in Arizona were working to keep it up.

“What happened was that in Tucson, there’s an organization called the Sierra Club, and a guy from that organization named Dan Millis got in touch with Congressman Raul Grijalva,” Guadalupe Serrano, one of the artists behind the idea of making the replica said.

After negotiations on both sides, it was decided that this section of the fence would still be taken down and replaced, but that the mural is to remain intact and handed over to Serrano and the members of his art collective.

Early last Thursday, Serrano and the collective brought their tools and dismantled the mural’s panels, which had already been lifted off their footing by a construction company and laid on Mexico soil.

“We saved the whole mural,” Serrano told Nogales. “There were just two pieces at the end that were already gone.”