A huge mural has emerged in New York showing a powerful image of a Palestinian and Israeli child embracing. Towering over the surrounding blocks, a larger-than-life piece of street art captures the attention of passersby with its striking image.
The artwork, painted on the side of a Brooklyn loft by the Chilean artist known as DeGrupo, depicts an Israeli and Palestinian boy embracing each other. As they walk into a sunset, the mural is adorned with the words: “Love’s resilience can rebuild bridges that the war has burned.” The Palestinian boy wears a keffiyeh, while the Israeli boy dons a kippah and tzitzit and carries a teddy bear.
The idea for the mural emerged on October 7 when DeGrupo approached Michelle Mayerson, a street art promoter and curator, to offer his condolences and support. DeGrupo wanted to do something about the hostages. Reflecting on his motivation, DeGrupo asserted, "I'm a graffiti artist, I want to put messages out."
Michelle Mayerson, who helped organise and commission the mural, said “I was trying so hard to be sensitive to everyone. I only wanted to promote love and peace.”
Mayerson said she struggled to find a wall, “no one wanted to give me a wall to put anything on there that was controversial.” Jewish realtors were especially worried about vandalism. Eventually, she secured the huge space on the side of 49 Wyckoff Avenue to be the canvas for the piece.
“The way this came together felt like the hand of God,” she said.
DeGrupo explained to the JC that the mural "wasn't pro-Israel, it was just a wall." Considering the potential risks associated with the topic, DeGrupo acknowledged, "there is a lot of pro-Palestinian protests, so some of us thought the wall was a risk."
According to DeGrupo, the children in the mural symbolises “the future, they are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.” The mural serves as a reminder that children are not only witnessing the conflict but will play a role in shaping a more harmonious world.
A third artist named Manuel Alejandro helped to paint the figures.
The children wear the jerseys of renowned footballers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The Palestinian boy sports the maroon Portugal jersey of Ronaldo, while the Israeli boy wears Messi’s Argentinian shirt.
Commenting on the location's significance, DeGrupo said: "It’s the highest wall in Bushwick – you can see it from four blocks around." DeGrupo highlighted the positive feedback received, stating, "We get more positive messages than negative ones from people who have seen it."
DeGrupo said that the mural represents his beliefs, "I’m pro-humanity, and this mural represents the diversity of getting together and standing against destruction and rebuilding bridges between us." DeGrupo reiterated, "we need to focus and aim towards a path of peace and calmness.”