Wednesday, January 23, 2013

People With No Names: The Undocumented #104

This 11"x14" oil on canvas is of an immigrant woman in the Nogales, Mexico deportee center.  Her hand over her mouth reminds me that many people in the world, (especially women),  do not have voices...many people in the world are still not 'heard from'.  Their lives, and deaths, go unnoticed and unmarked.  In that vein, the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has a huge installation at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. right now.  The installation is comprised of all the mangled rebar that was salvaged when a shoddily-built children's school collapsed during an earthquake in 2008.   'Wenchuan Steel Rebar (2008-2012)' is a powerful indictment of the Chinese government and a monumental reminder of the many young people who died during the earthquake.  Along with the installation, Ai Weiwei had people read and record each and every name of every child who was killed when the school collapsed. He was arrested and detained during the making of the piece, but his assistants continued to construct the piece. He says that his art flows from the search for the rights of individuals.  He says that the rebar stands for the spine,  and the fact that we are 'spineless' if we don't stand up against human rights violations.  Amen.

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