Saturday, November 13, 2010

why i paint what i paint #9

I was thinking about the Cruise Ship that lost power down off the Mexican coast and what a "hardship" it was for the passengers "trapped" on the ship as it was slowly towed up the coast. You know, they had to eat cold food, the air-conditioning was out, oh and they had to entertain themselves by having sing alongs! I am sure it was American standards; and definitely by expectations vs. reality standards! (Expectation: fabulous, all amenities included 'Disneyland on the Ocean'. Reality: part of the time the cruise was as expected, then without warning the whole ship was plunged into quasi Third world conditions.) I am sure that it was unpleasant, but being paying customers the passengers WERE cared for and DID have a reasonable expectation/hope of being rescued fairly quickly from their predicament. Compare this to undocumented immigrants being ferried across the desert by a decidedly disinterested party (the coyote) or the trapped minors in Chile. I mean we are actually talking about people who WILL continuously be accompanied and attended to on their journey and WILL come out alive and well, versus people who MAY come out alive, MAY continue to be accompanied (or not), and MAY be starved, raped, beaten and die. So I will not be portraying any 'cruise ship people'. They have advocates. I DID find it instructive to go back and read about 'steerage' passengers at the beginning of the 20th Century. Alfred Stieglitz made that great photograph of the people in steerage, and while it is a beautiful photo, it hardly captures the horrible conditions of immigrants in steerage.

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