We are at a crossroad. Our world is changing in myriad ways: refugees and migrants are being displaced, our environment is visibly in peril and there are constant conflicts/wars between countries and within nations. This past year the world was devastated by a pandemic, Covid-19, which to date has caused more than 562,000 deaths in the United States.
While our country was suffering under this epidemic, governmental lies, ineptitude and callousness caused many to suffer physically and mentally and to go hungry in the wealthiest nation in the world. By blaming the W.H.O. and China for misleading us about the outbreak, officials stoked prejudice and hatred toward Chinese people in our country. George Floyd, an African American, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for over 9 minutes during his arrest. Protests against systemic racism erupted all around the US and the world.
Under a Zero Tolerance Policy, more than 5,000 children were separated from their families at the border and to this day more that 445 of them are still lost. The wall, at a cost of 45 billion dollars, contributed to the destruction of protected lands such as the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, the Lomita Historical Park, the National Butterfly Center, a tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge as well as the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Native American burial grounds.
Our lives over this past year have changed in ways that we are still trying to comprehend. With the pandemic, we lost the unspoken connection we make with one another, from a single handshake to a hug or kiss. This exhibition re-connects us and celebrates the return of the artists, who are reacting, lending their voices, and presenting book works that reflect our tumultuous times. These artists share personal stories, reflecting the changes they observe, alongside concerns for our current policies towards immigration, climate change and equal rights. The books presented in this exhibition open a dialogue about policies and concerns facing our country.
Maria G Pisano – Curator © 1/2019