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SPECIAL REPORT: Artist becomes inspired by local border crisis

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The southern border and the ongoing legal tug-of-war involving funding and security have sparked countless visits, debates, and even art.

Daryl Urig is a conceptual oil painter who moved to Yuma to focus on Western-themed paintings.

During a recent trip to Algodones, Urig's artistic eye quickly saw something of great impact along the border wall.

“It just made me really sad to see people on that side and you know they would reach out with their cups and different things like that for money you could give them but it just… really impacted me,” said Urig.

For the first time in his life Urig got to experience the border crisis first hand.

Shifting from the western classics of cowboys and native americans to the on going border crisis.

“To see people on that side and you know they would reach out with their cups and different things like that for money you could give them but it just… really impacted me,” said Urig.

The artist immediately got to work, expressing his emotions through the only way he knows how, through the palette, the paint, and the canvas.

“I need to paint once an image feeling gets in your head you have to paint it out and that’s how we kind of all deal with our emotions we got to paint it out,'' said Urig.

“The Gates of Hell” as Urig calls it is the most emotional piece of work he has done so far in his career.

“Because for some people it was the Gates of Hell… is the Gates of Hell when they come over here and so I think that that painting the Gates of Hell defnitiely my most emotional painting I’ve ever painted,” said Urig.

The artist says he watched on the news on how immigrants are treated and while he claims he might not have answers he still feels empathy for the situation.

“These are people you know and we’re really sending a mixed message to people  don’t have any answers and I’m not trying to say I have an answer by making this painting but I guess what I was saying is people are people wherever they come from you know we’re all the same,” said Urig.

Along with understanding both sides of the argument the seasoned painter also feels for those who are unfairly labeled while crossing over as well.

“In the mix of this you here things on the news which is like all the bad people are coming across the border but that’s not really true in my mind there’s good people too,” said Urig.

Urig hopes the federal government can find a way to help those people involved in this situation.

The artist also says he wishes to inspire people to stand up and make a difference through this painting and some of his others as well.

“People are pretty awesome we have an opportunity to do great things and talking negative all the time which is so much out there  don’t need to be negative we need to be proactive and start building things,” said Urig.

Urig says he is in a humanitarian theme and is currently working on another project that he hopes can inspire others just as the Gates of Hell did.

To get a different look at Urig's "Gates of Hell" and other paintings click here.

Article Topic Follows: Special Reports

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Eduardo Morales

Eduardo Morales joined KYMA as a reporter in September 2023. If you have any story ideas or tips, email him at


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