L.A. Street artist’s anti-Trump project marks a ‘future internment camp’ site in South Philly

Down in South Philly, some eagle-eyed Philadelphians may have noticed a vacant lot at Broad and Washington marked as a “future internment camp,” with a sign bearing what appears to be an endorsement from President Trump.

But, please, don’t start lighting those molotov cocktails. Yet.

The sign is not a marker of fascism come to Philadelphia, but rather a warning from famed Los Angeles street artist Plastic Jesus that it very well could someday.

Trump’s recently revised, yet equally controversial, travel ban does not include provisions for the construction of immigrant camps.

“Lot reserved for: Future Internment Camp,” the sign reads. Below that message, a White House seal and Trump’s signature add to the installation’s convincing nature. The sign also references “Executive Order 9066,” which Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed in 1942 to establish internment camps for Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

(During that time, Pennsylvania was home to one Japanese internment camp in Bedford County, about 200 miles west of Philadelphia. Seabrook Farms in Cumberland County, New Jersey housed roughly 2,500 Japanese Americans relocated there for work by the War Relocation Authority following their release from US internment camps, according to the New York Times.)

The South Philly sign is one of 50 hung throughout the United States by Plastic Jesus, a Brit who is legally in the U.S., and his cohorts. Signs have popped up in other cities, including New York, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, and Miami, according to Esquire.

“Obviously, the signs were intended to jar people. They look pretty realistic -- that was the intention -- but there were a couple clues, and after a very simple fact check you should realize they’re not,” Plastic Jesus told Esquire in a recent interview. “Several months ago, this wouldn’t have been an issue. It would’ve been so far-fetched.”

Plastic Jesus is no stranger to controversial street art, and has been referred to in the past as the “Banksy of L.A.,” a nod to the famed British street artist, who recently opened a conflict-themed hotel along Israel’s West Bank barrier.

In 2015, Plastic Jesus erected a life-sized statue of an Oscar statuette on all fours, snorting cocaine on Hollywood Boulevard. In 2014, P.J. created a similar statue, one injecting itself with a syringe in the wake of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s heroin overdose that year.

In September, Plastic Jesus walled off Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star with a miniature border fence, which received a strong response online. Most recently, he erected a life-sized golden statue of Kanye West portrayed as Jesus on Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Newsweek reports. Now, it seems, his attention has turned back to politics.

“There’s little value in just doing a caricature of Trump as Hitler,” Plastic Jesus told Esquire of his “future internment camp” signs. “We need people to think about the implication of his policies.”