Monday, November 21, 2011

People With No Names - The Undocumented #94

This is 24" x 24" oil on board.  As I looked at this image I realized that the mother appears in her gesture to be 'giving a benediction' or 'blessing' her baby.  Perhaps, the act of immigration could be seen as a benediction or blessing on the immigrant's children/family.  "May the Lord bless you and keep I go out into the wilderness to find work...until we are reunited again."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

People With No Names - The Undocumented #93

This is 30" x 30" oil on stretched canvas.  I am reading the new Joan Didion book, "Blue Nights".  In one chapter she discusses the fact that her one, adopted, "beautiful baby girl" is perhaps privileged.  She recounts that her "beautiful baby girl" had 60 dresses.  (She counted them).  Didion changed the baby's dress four times "on the afternoon the State of California social worker made her mandated visit to observe the 'candidate for adoption' in the home environment."  Her house-cleaner, laundress (of the 60 dresses), and nanny, Aurcelia, had been prepped ahead of time NOT to speak to the social worker,  and to busy herself watering the garden.  Didion writes, "The thought of an unstructured encounter between Arcelia and a State of California social worker had presented spectral concerns from the outset...what if the social worker were to notice Arcelia spoke only Spanish?  What if the social worker were to happen into the question of Arcelia's papers?  What would the social worker put in her report if she devined that I was entrusting the perfect baby to an undocumented alien?"  Didion goes on in the next chapter to acknowledge that her "beautiful baby girl" DID, perhaps, have a privileged life;  but "Ordinary childhoods in Los Angeles very often involve someone speaking Spanish".  Okay,  I have thought a lot about the ways in which undocumented people harvest our produce, process our meat, and do myriad menial chores both inside and out of our homes.  But until now,   it had not occured to me that these 'unseen' laborers also contribute greatly to the cultural life of this nation!  How many artists have been able to continue their work because an undocumented person "picked up all the slack" so that their employers could continue to work?  I, for one, was struck with thanksgiving for 'Arcelia' in Joan Didion's life.  Because of this undocumented helpmate,  Joan Didion was able to continue to write her luminous prose!!!