Member News November 11, 2016
by Lauren Festa
In these strange and uncertain times, it’s best to remember the words of Toni Morrison; “there is no place for self-pity, no room for fear. In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.” And, as E.M. Cioran observes in the novel The Trouble With Being Born, “It is written in the Zohar: ‘When man appeared, thereupon appeared the flowers.’ I suspect, they were there long before him, and that his advent plunged them all into a stupefaction from which they have not yet recovered.’ To heal and consequentially to recover, we continue to make the work. We continue to create. In her project entitled Flowers for Immigration, ADC Member Lizania Cruz is choosing to change the conversation around immigration with photography-based storytelling that poignantly depicts immigrant flower workers and their floral arrangements; made especially for the new President-elect, Donald J. Trump.
“42.5 million immigrants are living in the United States, 11 million of whom are undocumented. 52% of those are Mexican. In New York, a lot of them work at bodegas, selling flowers to New Yorkers who use them to express their feelings to their loved ones” Lizania explains. “From Gandhi to the Vietnam War, flowers have been used as a way of nonviolent protest. The initial phase shares the stories and three arrangements from Miguel (Puebla), Rubén (Guerrero) Felipe (Oaxaca).”
“They tried to bury us; they did not know we were seeds.” – Dinos Christianopoulos
“Donald Trump is our future president” she acknowledges. “His immigration policy plan looks to expand detention centers along the border for illegal crossers, canceling the broader protection program for undocumented immigrants that President Obama started. The signature proposal of his campaign was the promise to construct a wall across the southwest border. According to exit polls from Tuesday’s election, 76% of his supporters believe the “wall” is vital for change. Flowers for Immigration attempts to change the perspective around the immigration dialogue. Not all undocumented immigrants are criminals. They are workers who come to the U.S. in search of a better future.”