Tag Archives: deracination

A Little Skin In The Game

Big Drink 4, oils on Mylar 18″ x 24″

I thought I was done with the Migrations series, of wrestling with the Hanged Man archetype, but it seems like I am not. This week I learned that I didn’t get the funding for a project which merges the symbolism of borders, disenfranchisement, and political punishment with that of the archetype of the Union of Opposites, or the Lovers.

That’s okay. I’ll keep knocking til they let me in.

In conversation with a student this past week over identity politics, the vulnerabilities we face when traveling abroad as an American and coming back home as a person of color…what scrutinies do we face in our privilege on the one hand, and our disenfranchisement on the other?

To what extent are we our social status and history, are we our biology? The young artist I was speaking to wants to visit his ancestral home of Iran. Like me, he has fair skin and dark hair. Those that are bent on projecting the racial binarism of the USA onto all others would call him white. As they have me on occasion.

No Dogs No Cubans No Negroes
Bullet Holes and Mixed Media
24″h x 21″w

They don’t care that my family was kicked out of a restaurant because “No dogs, no Cubans, no N-word allowed.” Or the times I was told to swim home. Or the times I have been yelled at to speak English or American when I’ve been on the phone speaking Spanish. Or how my bank of over 25 years called to ask me if I was an American citizen shortly after Trump was elected president. I’m not the only one either!

Were they hoping they could report me to ICE and seize my accounts and property? I know Trump lost the popular vote, but not by a statistically significant majority. With a couple of neighbors that flaunt Confederacy flags I would have to be Pollyannaish to feel like my citizenship insulates me. It didn’t insulate Japanese-Americans during WWII. Even those born here.

It’s part of the reason why deracinating the Latinx body is a micro-aggressive act that feels like my very bones are being beaten out of my skin. What’s purpose anyway? There’s no triage for our hurt, our disenfranchisement, for the systemic exclusions of entrenched racisms? Everyone bleeds from deep cuts.

Epic 106 / 2009

Identity and embodiment go hand in hand. And embodiment is serious business.

This young artist, he thinks that being an American citizen will insulate him from political malice when he travels abroad. I don’t think Trump would blink if something were to happen to him.

He was born here…but he’s a hyphen. Couldn’t we all write a whole tome about what that means?!

The questions of individual-social, or biology-identity are complex. Such rich territory for phenomenological and creative exploration…in any media, in any discipline! And it all begins with our embodiment.

I can’t for the life of me understand academics and artists who think figuration is somehow a lesser creative endeavor. They must have taken the biggest gulp of Cartesian Cool-aid!

Border Crossing (Touch 7), 2017
Mixed Media on Mylar
24”h x 26”w