EPOCH: REFUGEE CRISIS
In October 2015, I became overwhelmed with the media's images of refugees fighting to live, fleeing from war in Syria. I found it troubling that those of not in that situation are able to scroll right past their struggles on our social media feeds, as if erecting a wall to protect ourselves from deep pain and heart-stopping empathy. I found it abhorring that so many Americans are fearful of refugees, and believe so many lies about their supposed malicious intent and associations with terrorism. Practically overnight, I decided to respond with art, by illustrating the faces I saw on the media, and enlarging them to a size that no one could ignore when placed on an exterior public wall. The wheatpasted portraits received such an overwhelmingly positive response that I received funding to continue this project in Germany. While there, I worked directly with Syrians fleeing war and collected stories, with the goal of creating confrontational artwork that communicated their messages and lives to the American public.
This project received national and local press, and culminated with a 40-foot long installation as the featured work in a curated show at the St. Louis Artist's Guild in the spring of 2017. A video highlighting this exhibition is show below:
EPOCH: NAPA VALLEY
Currently, I am working on Epoch: Napa Valley which will be a visual timeline depicting several mass movements of immigrants in Napa Valley during the 19th century. This project is possible thanks to a grant provided by the Napa Valley Arts Council and mentorship by historians and librarians at the Napa Historical Society. The final display will be a three-story painted mural on Main Street in Downtown Napa, with the goal of educating locals and tourists alike about lesser-known historical aspects of the area.
EPOCH: AMERICAN BORDER CRISIS
In May of 2018, Claudia Patricia Gómez González was murdered by an American border patrol agent in Texas. González, a Maya-Mam indigenous woman from Guatamala, was in search of a better life and higher education, and was met with bullets. Her story is representative of family separation, deaths and abuses by border patrol and ICE that have escalated in the Trump administration. I had the honor of collaborating with community members in St. Louis to construct a wheatpasted mural to honor her life and to display messages of solidarity and resilience from local undocumented residents. This series will continue for as long as the injustices persist.