When Trump Tower officially opens in Downtown Vancouver on Tuesday, one of the first things visitors will see once they make it past the protesters is a wall sculpture entitled “Paths to be Crossed” by Mexican-born artist Miriam Aroeste.
“That speaks about community, about integration, about togetherness, love, connection,” Aroeste said.
It may be ironic that such a piece would hang in a building associated with a man who wants to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
But Aroeste wasn’t thinking about Trump when she was commissioned to create 180 pieces of art to grace the new tower.
“That was way before Donald Trump was a candidate. I didn’t even know that he would become a candidate at that time,” she said.
“By the time he became president, all my work was already done and it was already installed in the building.”
Aroeste was born and raised in Mexico City, before she immigrated to Vancouver 27 years ago.
“After all these years I feel Canadian. I love Mexico, I feel Mexican but I am a Mexican-Canadian,” she said.
“Canada is quite an amazing country to live in.”
In a way, Aroeste feels she is the perfect artist for the job.
“I would love people to pick up on the positive message in a world that is filled with so much negativity,” she said.
Trump has long had a contentious relationship with Aroeste’s country of birth.
Trump has insisted that he would build a wall along the U.S.’s 3,144-kilometre border and make Mexico pay for it. Mexico says it will not cover the cost.
Aroeste said she is not a political person, and that she prefers to let her art speak for itself.
“I express everything I feel by painting and with my own work,” she said.
– With files from Linda Aylesworth and Reuters