Alien Trump de­scends on Mex­ico in artist's bill­board

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

His skin is blue, his face con­torted and his eyes bulge from his head, but the hair is un­mis­tak­able: that alien in the gi­ant bill­board over one of Mex­ico City's busiest roads is Don­ald Trump. In case the US pres­i­dent's dis­tinc­tive blond swirl didn't tip you off, the artist has put an Amer­i­can flag in the back­ground and framed the whole thing with Trump's cam­paign slo­gan: "Make Amer­ica great again." Iron­i­cally, this ex­trater­res­trial Trump has landed in Mex­ico be­cause he could not find a home in the United States.

Amer­i­can artist Mitch O'Con­nell cre­ated the work in 2015 for a hor­ror film fes­ti­val in Chicago head­lined by the 1988 cult clas­sic "They Live." But what be­gan as a pub­lic­ity poster turned into a zeit­geisty po­lit­i­cal state­ment, he told AFP. "I was draw­ing a poster of the 'They Live' alien and the TV was on my draw­ing ta­ble. There was Trump, cam­paign­ing or do­ing some­thing on tele­vi­sion. And that hair is so dis­tinc­tive. I'm look­ing at my draw­ing and at his hair and I said, 'That hair would look fan­tas­tic on this alien,'" he said in a phone in­ter­view from Chicago.

"They Live," a satir­i­cal sci-fi movie star­ring late pro wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, is the story of a drifter who dis­cov­ers a pair of sun­glasses that en­ables him to see that Earth's rul­ing class is in fact made up of aliens who ma­nip­u­late peo­ple via the mass me­dia to spend money and ac­cept the sta­tus quo. O'Con­nell said his 21st-cen­tury take on the film res­onated at a mo­ment when re­al­ity TV star and real-es­tate bil­lion­aire Trump was start­ing his im­prob­a­ble rise to the pres­i­dency. "Re­al­ity kind of just turned into this draw­ing. It was not meant to be po­lit­i­cal, but it just kind of evolved," he said. "Peo­ple had huge re­ac­tions to Trump and they loved the movie, those two things to­gether: Amer­ica get­ting stranger by the week with Trump run­ning and Trump as pres­i­dent."

Il­le­gal alien

O'Con­nell, 56, ini­tially tried to get the work dis­played on a bill­board in the United States, but said he was re­jected in sev­eral cities-de­spite rais­ing $3,000 on­line to fund the project. "Ma­jor bill­board com­pa­nies, I think they were ac­tu­ally wor­ried about get­ting peo­ple protest­ing. There was an ac­tual real pos­si­bil­ity that Trump would tweet about them or bash the com­pany," he said. A Mex­ico City gallery then stepped in to get the work dis­played in Mex­ico, the tar­get of much vit­riol from Trump. Trump kicked off his cam­paign in June 2015 with a tirade against Mex­i­can im­mi­grants, whom he re­ferred to as drug deal­ers, crim­i­nals and rapists.

Anti-Mex­i­can rhetoric was cen­tral to his cam­paign, with Trump vow­ing to de­port Mex­i­can im­mi­grants en masse, make Mex­ico pay for a wall on the bor­der and tear up the US trade agree­ment with Mex­ico and Canada. "Trump's first (cam­paign) speech was call­ing ev­ery­body from Mex­ico rapists and thieves and how he was go­ing to build this ma­jes­tic wall to keep them out," O'Con­nell said. "Mex­ico be­ing the only place where I can get this bill­board erected, it was a won­der­ful ironic twist end­ing to the story." In Mex­ico City, the bill­board has met with be­mused ap­proval.

"To me, artis­tic ex­pres­sion re­lated to Trump is a re­ally good thing, in the sense that it has an im­pact on so­ci­ety, be­cause this is kind of how we all feel, right?" said Carla Baeza, an em­ployee at a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany in the cap­i­tal. "I think the artist wanted to cap­ture the essence of how Trump treats Mex­i­cans. He doesn't re­spect us much," said com­puter pro­gram­mer Julio Acuna.

— AFP

A bill­board by US artist Mitch O’Con­nell de­pict­ing US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is dis­played, in al­lu­sion and as a trib­ute to John Car­pen­ter’s 1988 cult movie ‘They Live’, in Nau­cal­pan de Juarez, state of Mex­ico.

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