Love & Dignity Beyond Bars and Borders

Acrylic, Monoprint Collage and Linoleum Block on Wood
84 x 48 x 2 inches

This work is among my favorites. The scale of the work (7 x 4 feet) allowed me to experiment with large format linoleum block and monotype. Each part of the face was printed over a different monotype layer, and then cut and assembled to form the final figure. The thick lines in the background were cut from individual monotype sheets that were printed with my color palette, layer upon layer of inks. The monotype colors add an elaborate layer of depth and detail that’s uniquely interpreted when a viewer is close to the piece. The bars represent a desire to blur the lines that keep us separated from people who are incarcerated. How might we erase the walls of division between those of us who are on the outside and those who are inside of prisons, especially given how incarceration laws unjustly target community of color and cause extreme suffering and trauma. The background of the piece was developed with layers of house paint that were watered down. They are a metaphor of the blood and tears that our people shed inside of prisons.

I created this art work in collaboration with CultureStrike and Power California with the goal of building solidarity and connecting the struggles of immigrants of color - including Black immigrants and other Black Diaspora communities - as it related to state-inflicted repression, family separation, and violence. Racism and inequality lie at the root of both anti-Black violence and anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as institutionalized mass deportation and mass incarceration. Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement which began to spread in 2015, the nation was in a conversation about anti-Black racism for the first time in at least a decade. Meanwhile, under the Obama administration, anti-immigrant forces were simultaneously deporting mothers, fathers and youth at an alarming rate of 1000 per day. A timely art piece connecting the fights against mass incarceration and immigrant detention was urgently needed, and we at CultureStrike were able to organize a group of artists to respond, including myself.

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