Piece #10 from our #VisionsFromTheInside2016series, a collaborative project between visual artists and immigrants facing the for-profit detention monster.
To view complete series, please visit: bit.ly/csvisions
Excerpt from detainee’s letter: “There is no medical attention unless they can no longer walk or get up from bed.” – Lorena
Artist statement: “My letter is from a very strong and resilient woman named Lorena, who has been in the Irwin Detention Center for 7 months [at the time the letter was received]. In her letter she describes the oppressive, unjust and unsafe conditions that she has had to endure while being there, such as abuse from the guards, and other inmates, and a lack of medical attention for all the women. She says Latina women suffer the most abuse and are given no support to complain because they speak spanish. I wanted to reflect these unjust conditions in my illustration to give a voice to Lorena and all the women, who feel powerless in their situation. The bottom three panels of my illustration depict a lot of restriction and dark colors to reflect the prison cells they are forced to live within. I drew prison bars as the United States flag. This flag is often presented as a symbol of freedom, which hides the fact that the U.S. government is actually a police state, incarcerating more Black, Brown and migrant peoples than any other place in the world. What stood out to me in the letter though was Lorena’s strength and love of sisterhood. Her letter reflected so much empathy and compassion for her sisters detained with her. One line in particular she says “she is hopeful and knows there is a God and that these abuses will end especially against Latina women who do not speak English because they suffer the most abuse.” I was inspired by her faith in the conditions changing for her and her sisters, and I wanted to depict that in the top part of my illustration, where you see a very divine Brown woman, hands open free, surrounded by a lot of light and beauty just like our peoples. I believe that it is the faith and spirit of Black and Brown people that continues to sustain our existence and resistance.” -Francis Mead
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