REMEMBER – the fragility of Identity
This the second in a series of works that focus on women who chose to come to live in America.
A set of 26 animated watercolor paintings illustrate the first names of five women from the Central American region who came to America looking to forge their future, find opportunities and experience a life without hindrance.
My interest in the migrant journey is based on my own experience of leaving Ireland.
I migrated to New York from Dublin (along with thousands of other young people) in the 1980’s. The country was in the midst of one of Ireland’s worst economic recessions, and also at the height of a sectarian conflict in the North of Ireland, where I had attended college.
This exodus at that time was called the ‘New Wave’ and resulted in a large undocumented Irish population in the US. Most of this group was later legalized as a result of special legislation that targeted the Irish.
This legislation took the form of two visa lotteries, the Donnelly Visa named after Rep. Brian J. Donnelly in 1986, a Democrat of Massachusetts, and the Morrison Visa named for Bruce Morrison, who is best known for pioneering the Immigration Reform Act of 1990.
In sharp contrast to my route to legalization are the more recent experiences of friends from Central America, Mexico and Guatemala. Their shared stories of coming to America are fraught with struggle, fear and uncertainty. An uncertainty tragically amplified under the current Trump administrations detention and deportation measures.
REMEMBER is a tribute to my sisters who came to here as I did, seeking advancement. By creating this tender animation of their names and projecting it at scale I will bring them into being, while leaving an impression of their identity in the consciousness of the public.
Oliver Sears Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
June 28th - July 31st, 2018
Kustera Projects, Red Hook Brooklyn
November 18th 2017 - February 10th 2018