The “Art in a Different Light” Show at 111 Minna Gallery is almost a tradition. I am participation for the third time in this black light show. While the last two years I was investigating my identity and personal experiences, this year I became more political with my work that emphasizes the resistance after the election.
Broken Liberty from my New World Collection played an important role in this show. With the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20th, I published this piece to make a statement about the political situation. Democracy and freedom are fragile things. Even a democratically elected government can be the worst enemy for freedom. If America doesn’t hold onto its constitutional principles, it eventually will face an existential catastrophe.
I still believe in America – the story isn’t over yet. My immigration to the United States, about four years ago, was the end of my old life in Europe, and promised a new beginning on so many different levels. I still remember the welcome video for arriving passengers at the airport border control that portraits a multicultural, progressive and innovative America. At the end, the video features the Statue of Liberty, which symbolizes freedom and hope to me, as to millions of other immigrants, who have came here in search for a better life. She serves as a powerful reminder how important immigrants have been to the achievements of the United States.
In this context, the Monarch Butterflies are not only metaphorically representing my personal transformation, or the liberation of other immigrants; they are also a visual statement on the natural process of migration and crossing borders. Sometimes making the personal political is all we can do to speak out against what scares us in uncertain times. The liberty to cross borders belongs to all of us - even when we are broken, struggling and striving for a better life.
Life is not perfect, and we are beautiful because of these imperfections. If you are like me, there are parts that feel broken. Exploring abandoned places, I learned that these are the parts that let in the light. Some people will say that these places no longer retain any utility or worth, but there is beauty in this brokenness, because there are new things growing out of them.