Sunday, January 23, 2011

People With No Names - The Undocumented #54

This oil on canvas 20"x 22"depicts a family that was recently re-united at the Comedor (a place where deportees are fed and given clothing and medical attention just a few hundred yards south of the U.S./Mexico border). The family had been living and working for years in Phoenix, AZ. when the parents (not U.S. citizens) went to a funeral in Mexico. When they tried to return to their children (U.S. citizens) in Phoenix, they were caught by border patrol and deported to Mexico. The "Samaritans", a group in Southern Arizona who are committed to protecting the welfare and even the lives of immigrants in the region, managed to re-unite the family in Nogales. I found it interesting to observe the various postures of the family members...the mother holding them all together, the father who needs to stay in the shadows to go undetected by authorities as he seeks to care for his family, the child in repose against her father's breast, the central child who looks like she is dancing or holding the world in her arms, and the son, looking outward...knowing that he will have to go out and help care for his family all too soon. I am re-reading Anne LaMott's TRAVELING MERCIES, and something that her preacher said seems to apply to this situation perfectly: "This is life's nature: that lives and hearts get broken---those of people we love, those of people we'll never meet. The world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes." Bravo Samaritans!

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