Detail (above left and right) of Detencion fronteriza
Detención fronteriza. 2019
*In the Twilight Zone of Sub-Humanity
The medium for this series of work is primarily milk paint and chalk paint with some pastel and watercolor. The texture and hues of the milk paint seem to resonate symbolically with the tone of the times, what feels to be the 'twilight of sub humanity,' a downward spiral into hell on earth, the extent of the violence accelerating exponentially given the technology of our weapons of war, destruction and what some believe to be self-defense. We are moving into darker and darker days, and I do not believe it has only to do with the power of media to expose the horrors of man's inhumanity to man. This medium is one that continues to intrigue me as an artist, at the same time, it is poignant that some of our earliest ancestors used this same formula for their cave paintings many thousands of years ago. The irony is that we seem to be digressing as a species, far beyond that of our oldest ancestors who must have understood the value of community or we would not be here today.
Author and Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison warned that "Language can never ‘pin down’ slavery, genocide, war. Nor should it yearn for the arrogance to be able to do so . . its force, its felicity is in its reach toward the ineffable.” Yet it seems, it is imperative that we continue to strive to find a way to express ourselves, to understand, or to purge ourselves of the intensity of our thoughts and feelings. It is our humanity that preserves; searching for a way to begin the conversation in spite of the limits of verbal dialogue, that falls short only because we have become numb to it. When it comes to the question of the hell that fellow human beings are bearing, a hell we are either supporting, condoning, or failing to challenge - the inhumane treatment of victims of unspeakable violence, begging those who could help, for help, only to be met with more violence – the answer falls short of the ideals of humanity, set forth with the hope of our founding mothers and fathers. This series is my attempt to express what cannot easily be said, because we have strayed so far as a nation, to call, through abstract forms what so many cannot otherwise hear or see.
The title, Dios todo lomira, God sees everything, is taken from a photo in the New York Times of a small boy, living in poverty in Mexico, on the wall of his bedroom, were written these words. His hope and the faith in a better world, inspired me to enter into this series.
The work: 2019
Port of Entry. Milk Paint on Plywood 18 X 18 $750.00 The imagery that the current administration is using to portray migrants, asylum seekers, and the 7 million fleeing disaster due to climate change in 2019 alone, is that of criminals and terrorists. They are met with walls and more violence in the form of harsh and inhumane treatment. We have to ask ourselves, who would leave their home, their family, their roots, their nation, unless there was no hope left? Most, if not all American, are here because of parallel circumstances, one, two, three or four centuries ago. Many were painted in the same disparaging hues. Many experienced the same small minded hate and racism that we are leveling at those waiting, in white, at our borders today. I experienced that same racism as the child of second generation Polish immigrants in Pennsylvannia, in the ostensibly diverse community of Swarthmore, my sixth grade social studies teacher warned me not to tell people I was Polish. I had no idea what he was talking about at that time. It was not until I studied world history in graduate school that I learned that the occupying countries, Germany and Russia, in particular, had a vested interest in spreading propaganda about the poles as drunks and criminals, justifying not only the theft of their land and execution and incarceration of their people, but also reason for the rest of the civilized world to turn a blind eye to genocide.
Detención fronteriza, Milk Paint, Chalk Paint, Watercolor on Wood Panel. The springboard for Detencion fronteriza was a recent photo on the conditions at one of the detention centers at our southern border, a room packed with 88 men, their only window to the outside world looks out to a hallway, where many of the men use hand gestures to motion, desperately to reporters and inspectors, the number of days and weeks they’ve been incarcerated. The room meant for a maximum of 40 adults. Medium: Milk paint, Chalk Paint, Watercolor on Wood Panel. 2019
"Kristallnacht Exhibit" Nov 16th - Dec 17th 2020, SK GALLERY WHITE PLAINS NY
El Infiernito. Milk Paint and Chalk Paint on Plywood. 18 X 18 $750.00 El Infiernito lies at the entrance to a section of Nueva Suyapa in Hondoras, where the violence from gangs is so fierce that residents are afraid to step outside the doors of their homes. On April 2, 2018, a 12 year old boy died walking his 5 year old brother home from school, a bullet to the eye, shot in the crossfire between the Los Benjamins and MS-13 gangsters.
President Trump says that sending money to Central America is like flushing it down the toilet. On the contrary, programs vetted and funded by the US have shown to reduce violence exponentially, and in the end, it would be far cheaper and more humane to fund change in Honduras than to spend billions locking up asylum seekers at our borders (Zonia Nazrio, NYTimes 7/28/19).
* I did not coin this phrase. I heard it during an interview on the radio. The interviewee, who I cannot recall, used the term to describe how far we have fallen; recounting the horrors of the brutality of human rights violations in Syria today. The massacres and the desperation of those fleeing the violence, seeking asylum.
Blanquear la violencia del muro. Milk Paint, Chalk Paint, Watercolor on Plywood. (not shown) Whitening the violence of the wall. The "wall" symbolically speaking, represents the walls of justification used by some to hold others captive. Usually, for the purpose of exploiting the victims of violence, sexually or otherwise. These walls are global, not just at the U.S. border. The strategy is universal: political whitewashing.