The Painting by Numbers Project is nearly all wrapped up (for now!) and La Coalicion de Derechos Humanos is hosting a community potluck to showcase the finished panels. This will be the first time all four panels will be displayed together to form the full mural. This project was essentially an experiment to see how an interactive, artistic experience can engage participants with social or political issues. I will be giving a presentation that explains how the project was executed, its successes and challenges, and the value of the arts in political movements. In addition, I will also be sharing my research that I conducted to inform this project, which included interviews with former ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainees and their legal advocates. [related link] There is a desperate case for reforming the way ICE conducts their detention of migrants. Women migrants in particular make up a large, unseen population on the outskirts of our communities whose specific medical, emotional and familial needs are not being met. As women continue to be subjected to these indefinite and non-criminal incarcerations families will continue to be separated and children will continue to be caught up in the equally bureaucratic and convoluted CPS (Child Protective Services) system. [related link] The trauma that occurs from these separations and imprisonment is long lasting and severely damaging. Yet this is something we are ignorant about because we do not have to face it at all. ICE has made sure this population is virtually invisible to us. The more we can inform ourselves the more we can begin to struggle for reform.
Thank you so much for your interest in this project and the issue of ICE detention. This is a reality across the nation, but AZ is at the forefront of our nation’s immigration policy trends. The wellbeing of thousands of people and their families is at stake, it is here where we must work hardest to turn things around.
The potluck discussion is taking place on Friday, February 8 @ 6:30 pm in the Armory Park Community Center. I hope to see you at the event, proceeds from any donations (no one will be turned away) will go to La Coalicion de Derechos Humanos to support their incredible and tireless efforts toward humane border policies.
* The Painting by Numbers Project was made possible by a PLACE Initiative grant from the Tucson Pima Arts Council. Thanks TPAC for the opportunity to do this work!