Degrees of Separation

EMPIRE


Empire, “Natural Migration of the ill-Eagle Alien”, 2015, Spray paint and mixed media


As a child nobody asked me if I wanted to come to this country, I was 5 years old when my parents began their pursuit of the American dream. When I painted this mural I thought about the countless people who have come to this country for a better life. I thought about the people that escaped persecution from gangs and corrupt governments. I thought about the people that leave their families in Mexico, Central America and South America to mow your lawns, to build your houses, to grow your crops, and to only receive a fraction of the money, less than what they deserve, and even less respect. The dead were also on my mind, the ones that never made it to the border. The people killed by cartels, corrupt police and government officials. The fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, parents and friends of those killed. The question that comes to mind is what and why did this happen to the 43 students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa. What will become of the thousands of underage children arriving at the border weighs heavy on my mind, as they are placed in detention centers designed to house criminals. This is on my mind…

—Empire