Banksy Transforms Migrant Road Sign into DREAM Crossing

The iconic Southern California road sign was originally created by Navajo artist John Hope.

By Jorge Rivas Feb 22, 2011

British street artist Banksy is back. And so are repurposed versions of the iconic yellow traffic signs with a silhouetted family that line roads near the U.S.-Mexico border in California.

The first signs popped up near Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA, the site of dozens of accidents where immigrants attempting to enter the country by crossing an interstate highway were struck by motorists.

The signs show three silhouettes sprinting across the frame — a father figure leading the way for his wife and daughter. They look like they’re running so fast that they’re leaning forward as if they were mid flight and about to take off in to the air.

Now Banksy has given the road signs new meaning by adding a kite to the design.

Banksy’s "Kite-2" seen in Los Angeles, CA.

By adding a kite he’s transformed the image of a frantic family running for their lives to a joyful family running towards their dreams.

Banksy, the British street artist whose documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" is nominated for an Oscar this year, put this new stencil up in Los Angeles. He’s believed to be building momentum for the film right before Sunday’s Oscar’s ceremony.

He’s also no stranger to making political statements with his art. In the photo to the right, he added windows to the wall in Palestine that looked out in to a dreamy beach landscape.

The original signs were made by CalTran’s graphic designer John Hood. He and his supervisors met with Highway Patrol officers and saw photos of accident scenes before he started the design process. What got to him most were the deaths that involved families.

"Graphically, I wanted to show a family," Hood told the San Diego Tribune in 2005. He chose to include a pigtailed girl, rather than a boy, because "there is something about a little girl running across with her parents that we are more affected by."

You can read more about graphic designer John Hood, a Navajo and Vietnam veteran, in an LA Times profile from a few years back.

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