Mexican street artist creates song in honor of migrants

By Manuel Ayala

Tijuana, Mexico, Jun 13 (EFE).- A Mexican painter, printmaker and street artist known for his socially conscious street murals has now created a song in honor of those who have made the grueling and perilous northward journey through his homeland.

A native of the southern state of Oaxaca, Yescka recently visited the northwestern border city of Tijuana and toured shelters, the bi-national frontier and other spaces to hear first-hand accounts from migrants and record with them a video clip for the song.

Yescka told Efe he traveled to Tijuana because he knew he would encounter people from different parts of the world and from Mexico’s interior there and find what he needed for the video.

“The song is called ‘El himno del migrante’ (The Migrants’ Hymn), and it’s a song that makes us feel part of something,” he said, adding that “migrating isn’t something bad, just the opposite. It’s a human right that shouldn’t make anyone feel inferior.”

Yescka spoke at Tijuana’s Juventud 2000 shelter with migrant families of different ages and invited them to dance and participate in the video clip, which still does not have a release date.

An artist whose visual creations on streets and walls can be seen in different Mexican cities, Yescka told Efe that the plight of migrants has always been a theme close to his heart.

“I have a lot of migrant relatives who are in the United States and in other places, as well as friends who have shared with me stories about their migration (experience) that were very difficult for many years,” he said.

“A lot of people have (emigrated) from Oaxaca, and now there’s a really big population in California. So that’s where the idea came to create this hymn for them,” Yescka said.

The artist said the pandemic served as a further catalyst for migration, noting that his home city of Oaxaca had not previously been a migrant way station but has now become a major stopping-off point.

“I think they’re working really hard to get here (the border) and they go through Oaxaca to get some help because the people show a lot of solidarity and support. I’ve seen that situation a lot, many migrants staying temporarily in the city and then going to other cities like Mexico City,” he said.

Yescka called attention to the suffering of migrants at the hands of immigration authorities and police who “abuse their power.”

He also noted that migrants endure great hardships along the route, saying that children die and “many rapes” occur and that more visibility must be brought to those traumatic experiences.

The artist added that the ordeal migrants go through leads many people to sink into depression or abuse drugs, a situation he says he has observed in Tijuana.

“All of this happens because there’s a lack of comprehensive work or attention given to these migrant communities. That’s the reality in all the countries. There’s a lack of work by government institutions that’s perceptible in assistance and support programs,” Yescka said.

With “The Migrants’ Hymn,” the artist said he is looking to create awareness about this humanitarian crisis.

“Music helps, and now through the digital platforms it gets to people more quickly … and reaches more into their soul. That’s what made me want to do this song,” Yescka said. EFE


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