Mexico ambassador unveils Enrique Chiu's migrant murals in Cairo

Reham El-Adawi , Wednesday 30 Mar 2022

Two murals by Mexican artist Enrique Chiu on the theme of migration were unveiled at Maqas Maqd of Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbey in historical Cairo on 28 March.

Mexican artist Enrique Chiu, ambassador of Mexico Jose Octavio Trip, Head of mission of the IOM Laurent de Boeck open the murals

The murals are part of Chiu's Humanitarian Immigrant Project, supported by the Mexican Embassy in Cairo and the International Organisation for Migration. 

Chiu is famous for having painted the Mural of Humanity on the northern border of Mexico. 

The murals were unveiled by Ambassador of Mexico in Egypt Jose Octavio Trip, head of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Egypt Laurent de Boeck, Ambassador Mohamed Khairat, the assistant minister of Migration for International Cooperation, and Agnieska Dobrovolsk, director of the Arquinos Architecture Foundation. 

Also in attendance were Ambassador of Argentina Eduardo Antonio Varela, Ambassador of Chile Pablo Arriarán, Ambassador of Ecuador Rafael Veintimilla, and Charge d' Affairs for Peru Eduardo Palacios Rangel.

During the event, the ambassadors of Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Sudan delivered speeches on migration in their respective regions. 

Ambassador Trip stressed Mexico's commitment to preserving the dignity of migrants, pointing out that Mexico and Egypt are similar, having been a transit and a new home for migrants.

"Mexico is a country of origin, transit, destination and return. Our history is intimately linked with different migratory processes that continue to shape our identity. For our country, seeking the person's dignity is a fundamental part of the observation and administration of the migration process. The Migrant Humanity project is held in Egypt hand in hand with the International Organisation for Migration to make visible the importance of migration in the current world context. It includes a photographic and painting exhibition, the screening of the documentary A World Without Borders on 24 March at the Greek Campus in Cairo, and a live painting mural which was inaugurated at the Maqd of Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay complex," said Ambassador Trip.

The murals were painted live over three days with the participation of IOM volunteers, migrants from Yemen, Eritrea and Ethiopia, and Egyptian residents in the district. The murals will remain in the same place as a dedication from Chiu.

The issue of migration is brilliantly depicted in the mural through different aspects. There are the natural elements, such as rivers (light blue), oceans (deep blue) and deserts (yellow and brown). Natural borders which migrants come across during their journey are represented by colours in the mural. Feet, ships, and planes are drawn to represent the ways in which migrants move. 

There is also a representation of walls and borders with black and red stripes. Mayan and Aztec hieroglyphics frame the mural at Maqas Maqd of Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay complex.  

The Migrant Humanity exhibition comprises paintings and photographs that show the artist's creative process and the people involved. The pictorial work of Chiu is the result of experiences, perceptions, and personal emotions. The Migrant Humanity is an invitation to experience art and forget a precise analysis to interpret the images.

Born in Guadalajara in 1981, Chiu's mural at Mexico's northern border is an artistic intervention that achieves contemporaneity because the spectator, regardless of their age and nationality, reaches a dialogue with the artwork. The mural invites the viewer to his self-understanding and reveals his inner world. It allows communication without verbalising because through painting an identification link is achieved. 

Each person, regardless of their origin, expresses their cultural identity in a specific way, resorting to their language and symbolism, managing to connect with their emotions. 

The artwork is located in a particular geographical space, the border between Mexico and the United States. Still, the identification of the migratory phenomenon and the vicissitudes transcend time and space with shared emotions.

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