|If You Build It|
20" x 20" Painted acrylic papers on canvas
The title of this new piece is of course taken from the movie with Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams. I liked the many ideas that the title conjured up in my mind as I was working, chief among them that a wall to stop immigrants from entering our country would only cause a greater influx of people wanting to come here; trying harder in other words. I also wanted to include some specific imagery, namely the fenced enclosures that I had seen on the news a while back. Refugees were being held (still are I believe), separated from one another by these fences and the law. It seemed awful to me.
Immigration is a very complex issue. I admit that I don't know a lot about it. A cursory search turned up lots of information of course. I like this site here. During the course of making this piece, I read a book by John F. Kennedy, titled A Nation of Immigrants. It's a very careful and idealistic view of our nation's history of immigration. Our former president reminds us all, in a kind way, that we are a nation that was built on the idea that people could come here to seek a better life; that our country has always valued the skills and contributions of immigrants; and that our country is what it is today because of this beautiful blend of people from many nations. He calls for reform to a broken quota system and makes some suggestions for how we can improve as a nation.
As I worked the piece, I realized that I very much wanted to include a portion of the poem by Emma Lazarus that is at the base of the statue of liberty. Are the words still relevant for us today? And I included the portion of Matthew 25: 35 (RSV) that was quoted by JFK in the above mentioned book. Those words, I believe, are absolutely relevant today. Regardless of how one feels about immigration and immigrants, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that we are talking about human beings, people just like you and me. These are people that are hurting and at a real disadvantage, caught in the cross hairs of our political system. If our President was listening, I would tell him to keep his eye on the ball.
Alright, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.