untitled. 8.8' x 16'. charcoal on paper. 2017.
The drawing is a response to Executive Order 13769, better known as the Immigration or Muslim Ban, that suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions program for 120 days, restricted admission of citizens from seven countries for 90 days, ordered a list of countries for entry restrictions after 90 days, suspended admission of Syrian refugees, and prioritized refugee claims of individuals of minority religions. As a result, more than 700 travelers were detained and about 60,000 visas were temporarily revoked.
Although parts of the order are no longer being enforced as of February 3, 2017, I do believe that this order shines unwanted light on a much deeper issue that exists within our country, exposing the hushed, quiet truth that some have tried to label a thing of the past, but in all reality is still present more than ever. Equal rights still ceases to exist and “the dream” that we sell to the world and convince ourselves is tangible is still out of reach for many , bringing into question just exactly who is entitled what entitled few is it reserved for? These questions and the answers I filled them with lead me to questioning myself, my thoughts, morals, and beliefs. I realized my identity, which is shaped from my lifetime interactions and interchanges with people, ideas, images, and products all from elsewhere, was what lead me to my personal opinions and views.
How we identify ourselves shapes and influences how we see others in each of our own worlds and consequently the decisions and actions we choose. The identity of the individual versus society/group is an internal conflict each one of us experiences, day after day. As people we struggle to have individual freedom while at the same time finding meaning in values that are shared. So do we sacrifice the individuality and get lost in the crowd? Or join powers for the “greater good of the group as a whole”?
Will a true balance ever really exist? And if not which one is more important? The individual or the group?