History is an indicator of humanity’s failures, successes, and future. Current political events highlight cracks of America’s past by repeating in subtle to dynamic variations. Walls of diverseness have no place in our world. In the words of Winston Churchill: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
In my art practice, I’m fascinated by how alternative realities and perspectives impact perception and truth. According to the American Historical Association: “History consists of making arguments about what happened in the past on the basis of what people recorded (in written documents, cultural artifacts, or oral traditions) at the time.” Today’s documentation includes archiving presidential tweets that dictate policy and history.
INFANT DETENTION artwork description: A standard projecting directional sign has been repurposed altering its function. President Donald J. Trump consistently employs derogatory and racist comments towards immigrants. The administration implemented a “zero tolerance” policy of separating asylum-seekers from families at the border. Children and infants are currently being held in “Tender Age” shelters a.k.a. tents, cages, and detention centers. America has a disturbing history of separating families including slavery, Native American boarding schools, and Japanese-American internments to name a few.
Russell Contreras of AP News: “Before abolition, children of black slaves were born into slavery and could be sold by owners at will. Black women could do little to stop the sale of children and often never saw them again after they were sent away. Owners also split apart parents who had no legal rights to prevent their sale. To resist, slave families regularly ran away together but faced harsh physical punishment, even death, if caught by slave hunters.”
In an effort to erase identity, the US government separated Native American children from families to attend boarding schools. Becky Little from http://www.history.com: “At boarding schools, staff forced Indigenous students to cut their hair and use new, Anglo-American names. They forbid children from speaking their Native language and observing their religious and cultural practices. And by removing them from their homes, the schools disrupted students’ relationships with their families and other members of their tribe. Once they returned home, children struggled to relate to their families after being taught that it was wrong to speak their language or practice their religion.”
Recently, attorney general Jeff Sessions cited the Bible defending family separation. History has shown that oppressing identity to protect identity ultimately fails. According to Jesus Christ on Twitter: “If you read the Bible and your takeaway is that my pops has endorsed removing children from their mothers, even I can’t save you.” Amen.