Liberty Deconstructed/Reconstructed is my dystopian, satiric version of a prototype wall for the U.S.–Mexico border. It features recycled fencing strung between slats that are surprisingly green in so arid a landscape … and somehow familiar looking. That’s because they come from a now-disregarded American icon: patinaed copper slabs from the Statue of Liberty.
The quilt has been juried into Forced to Flee, an international Studio Art Quilt Associates exhibition that challenged artists to illustrate the issues surrounding global refugee crises. The show will travel for three years, premiering May 25, 2019 at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. It runs through August 24, 2019.
Quilts in many SAQA shows are now accom-panied by audio commentary from the artists. Visitors at show venues can listen on their phones; viewers of SAQA’s online galleries can hear audio through their computer. Here are my remarks:
The impetus for my quilt is twofold.
One—my younger daughter is a forensic anthropologist in the Central America-United States-Mexico migrant corridor, working to recover and identify the remains of those who perish in inhospitable terrain, under inhumane policies. This quilt is my way of honoring her and her commitment to social justice.
The other impetus comes from a news story about migrant children held in a detention center. They had been given coloring-book pages that included an outline of the Statue of Liberty. That struck me as a cruel irony and gave me both imagery and structure for the quilt.
Photography by Douglas Sandberg