Monumental Jorge Marin sculpture invites reflection on migrant children

By: Jorge Marín Foundation and UNICEF Mexico

The installation of the sculpture The Commotion Caused by the Clattering of Bodies was inaugurated by the Municipality of Tapachula, the Jorge Marin Foundation and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in the Miguel Hidalgo Central Park in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas. The work has a new and special component: the figure of a child.

In this piece, by Mexican sculptor, Jorge Marin, the splendour of bronze magnifies a surreal scene: a raft departs towards an unknown destination; on board are various passengers, heading to a new destiny. They are standing, covered completely in draping cloth. Their feet, the only visible part of their bodies, are firmly supported on the raft, that appears immovable and solid, despite the signs of time and the imaginary navigation on its hull. Originally, three figures stood on the raft, two males and one female, but within the context of the 75th anniversary of UNICEF, Jorge Marin, Goodwill Ambassador for the organization, added another figure, that of a child. The work is thus endowed with greater expressive force.

The poetic impact of this intervention becomes even more relevant within the context of its location in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas, on the southern border of Mexico. This is a city of transit and reception of children, adolescents, adults and whole families who move in search of better lives, and, at the same time, enrich the community of Tapachula with their traditions and customs and convert the city into a melting pot of cultures.

For Jorge Marín, a UNICEF Mexico Goodwill Ambassador since 2019, it is crucial to address the issue of human mobility with a solidary focus, as “it is an intrinsic part of our human condition; it reminds us of our origin as a species, it is a survival drive”.

He suggests that this issue reflects another intrinsic human characteristic: empathy with peers. “For this reason, from my trench as a sculptor, I wanted to make a piece that would cause a restlessness, discomfort, contention, and locate it in spaces where a broad public could see it and, ideally, take this restlessness home”.

Through the enormous capacity of the piece by Marin to stimulate reflection, the aim of this installation is to create awareness, solidarity, and community integration, particularly in the city of Tapachula, emblematic in terms of migration issues. Within this context, the Jorge Marin Foundation will accompany the exhibition of the work with two workshops for children and adolescents: “Tell me of your wings”, and “Where does your family come from?”

The first workshop consists of recreating the sculpture, Wings of Mexico, by Jorge Marin, with different art techniques that enable children to engage with their creativity and imagination to create their own version of the work, while at the same time, respond to the question, “where would you go if you had wings?” The second workshop involves collective work with mixed groups, comprising both local and migrant children and adolescents, who recreate the raft from The Commotion Caused by the Clattering of Bodies in paper, give its passengers identities, and add figures who represent friends, family, pets, or anyone else who evokes a sense of belonging.

“The 75th anniversary of UNICEF represents seventy-five years of fighting for the rights of the world’s children and adolescents, and offers an opportunity for reflection on what has been achieved in this matter on a national level. It is an opportunity, that on this occasion, we are taking advantage of through a very special vehicle born from the hands of the artist, Jorge Marín”, explained Fernando Carrera Castro, UNICEF Representative in Mexico.

“Since its creation, this sculpture has been a dramatic, high impact piece, but today, its impact is even greater, thanks to the incorporation of the important fourth traveller, a child. This fourth traveller reminds us of the importance that places such as Tapachula have had, still have, and will continue to have in the lives of children and adolescents who pass through them, as well as the role of their residents in terms of providing reception with the warmth and care needed by people of their age and circumstances”, concluded Carrera Castro.

Finally, Rosa Irene Urbina Castañeda, Municipal President of Tapachula, extended her thanks for the work, and noted that, “Tapachula has always been synonymous with hope: a meeting place, of transit and destination of migrations, who, in their search to improve their lives, have worked this rich, sincere and kind soil”.