Oil on wood panel, 20x16in.
Liberty text: “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,/ With conquering limbs astride from land to land;/ Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand/ A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame/ Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name/ Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand/ Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command/ The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame./ “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she/ With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
- The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, Nov 2nd, 1883. (A bronze plaque with this poem became a part of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903.)
Since it was stolen from the indigenous population, America has been a nation of immigrants. People were so proud of this melting pot of cultures that Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus, was attached to the base of the Statue of Liberty to welcome people as they entered the country, from across the sea and around the world, in pursuit of an American dream. Today it is a different story. President Trump launched his campaign in 2015 by calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. He hinged his presidency on the promise of building an expensive, unnecessary, and ineffective wall. ICE denies asylum seekers, takes children from their parents, and keeps them in overcrowded cages. Now we’ve found out that women are being sterilized against their will in these camps. America was meant to be a place for people around the world to collectively build their ideas of a better life together. This reversal of American values is incredibly harmful and destabilizing.
Donations from this piece, and it's twin piece, Captivity, will go to the ACLU.