SAN DIEGO – Canadian artist Cosimo Cavallaro is erecting a wall of cheese near the fence that separates the United States and Mexico in Tecate, California, as a way of denouncing the “waste” represented by the border barrier that President Donald Trump wants to build.
While Trump’s government is trying to use billions of taxpayer dollars to build its wall, Cavallaro is relying on GoFundMe to acquire enough blocks of expired cheese from the Mexican state of Michoacan to complete his structure, which stands 1.5m (nearly 5ft) tall.
“Art unites people,” the 58-year-old son of Italian immigrants told EFE.
Cavallaro quipped that he would be delighted to receive a donation from Trump, who made the promise of a border wall the centerpiece of his 2016 election campaign.
“I can see the waste in this. It’s a little bit of a waste to acknowledge a waste,” the Canadian said of his project.
Beyond the political statement, the main objective of the sculptor and filmmaker is to convey a message of solidarity among people.
Cavallaro said that when he first arrived in Tecate, the sight of the reinforced fence topped with barbed wire left him with a “very ugly and depressive” vibe, evocative of a “concentration camp environment.”
US Border Patrol agents are in the area, but they have not interfered with Cavallaro’s project and one even approached the artist and his team once to tell them that the site looked ideal for a picnic.
The artist’s intention is to have the wall extend roughly 300m along the border, but the project’s final shape depends on how many people donate at his GoFundMe page.
Each block of cheese costs roughly $100.
His wife and collaborator, Sarah Cavallaro, told EFE that the idea behind the project came more than a year ago when they were listening to Trump talk about immigrants and the border.
Cosimo, according to Sarah, hopes to “start a conversation” that includes a “message of social justice.”
This is not the first time that Cavallaro has made art from perishable items.
His previous works in that vein include a figure of Jesus made from chocolate and a bed of ham.
The artist told EFE that the impermanence of the cheese wall was fitting.