Thursday, January 25, 2018

Three Dreamers


I've got three new papercuts I wanted to share with you – inspired by the story of some "dreamers."

If you're not familiar with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), here's the shorthand: it's an American immigration policy that allowed some people who entered the country as minors (and remained in the country illegally) to receive a renewable two-year deferral from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. As of 2017, about 800,000 individuals were enrolled in the program created by what was popularly referred to as "The Dream Act," and so the people in question are known as "dreamers." But DACA is in danger, and we must speak up – in support of the people that come to our shores in search of freedom and refuge and opportunity.

I'm a second-generation American, and this has always been an issue of great importance to me. We've got a statue at the edge of our country which welcomes all those who need refuge:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
– excerpt from "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus
These three dreamers I've created are papercut representations of the Jewish tradition's dreamer, Joseph, known for his coat of many colors... and his long journey from favorite child to near-death to servitude to prison to leadership and, eventually, to sustainer of the children of Israel. All three papercuts include biblical references to "welcoming the stranger"; they're what I call "paper midrash."

A.K.A. Bunker
6" x 6"
Mixed media
2018

A.K.A. Bunker is made of cut-up comic books featuring Miguel Jose Barragan, known to the world as the super hero "Bunker." Originally from Mexico, he now lives in San Francisco (a sanctuary city) as a member of the Teen Titans. His coat of many colors features the purple bricks he creates with his powers, and bits and pieces of the costumes of his teammates.


Here I Am
6" x 6"
Mixed media
2018
Here I Am is made of cut-up America Chavez comics. A queer latina from the alternate dimension known as the Utopian Parallel, America's powers of teleportation led to her "undocumented" arrival in our dimension, where she started her super hero career as a member of the Young Avengers. In the background behind her are the words "All it takes is a second of trust" and two hands stretching out towards each other.


The Alien Superman
6" x 6"
Mixed media
2018
Superman is probably the most famous undocumented immigrant super hero, and The Alien Superman is made of cut-up comics featuring the Man of Steel. When his birth planet Krypton was on the verge of destruction, his parents put baby Kal-El (his Kryptonian name) in a rocket and sent him to find sanctuary on our Earth. In this papercut he stands against a desert background with a hint of a militarized and fortified border wall.

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