Here’s a dispatch from CultureStrike coordinator Favianna Rodriguez on her latest printmaking project with Justseeds and other artist/activists, first published last month, with a preview of some work that we’ll be featuring here at CultureStrike in the near future. Also check out her upcoming event, UndocuNation.
I’ve been busy launching an art print portfolio project addressing the immigration crisis. This project is a collaboration between CultureStrike and Justseeds Artist Cooperative. The portfolio consists of more than 40 visual art pieces about migration. The artists share a vision that immigration is one of the most important human rights crisis of our time. Ranging from street artists, to puppeteers, to painters, to cartoonists – the artists explore the complexities around migration, and depict issues from a local, national and international lens.
Above: Close up of Ray Hernandez’s image. “Education is Our Liberation.” Three-color letterpress print.
Above: Close up of Pete Yahnke Railand’s image. Three color letterpress print.
Some of the issues in the art pieces include the unjust detention of migrants, the deportation and separation of families, exploitation and profiteering from the jailing of migrants, the criminalization of undocumented youth, the demand for legalization, and the economic and ecological brutality that results from militarized border policies.
Our goal is to launch a pro-migrant creative intervention into the national and global debate surroung migration – to educate and inspire people, tell stories, and illustrate the struggle of migrants from all walks of life.
The works are being be hand-printed as a limited edition run at a newly opened studion in San Francisco, founded by master printer Paul Mullowney. The portfolio features notable artists such as former Black Panther Party Minister of Culture, Emory Douglas; author and posters artist, Josh MacPhee; pro-migrant printmaker power duo, Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza; cartoonist and performance artist, Lalo Alcaraz; UndocuQueer artist activist, Julio Salgado, and many many more.
Above: Close up of Art Hazelwood’s image. Two color letterpress print, printed from linoblocks.
Here are some pics from the portfolio in progress. We have started out with letterpress prints, and are fortunate to be working with an awesome printer from Portland named Patrick Cruzan.
Stay tuned for more info on how you can get a hold of one of these killer portfolios. A portion of these print portfolios will be donated to immigrant rights groups around the country who will support the project by curating small pop-up art exhibits.
About the Organizers
CultureStrike is an artist-led initiative whose mission is to cultivate innovative and urgent collaborations between artists, writers, musicians, and other cultural workers to shift the national imagination on immigration. Responsive to what’s happening in the moment, our model begins with raising the consciousness of key artists, so their cultural production will inspire others.
Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative is a decentralized network of 26 artists committed to making print and design work that reflects a radical social, environmental, and political stance. With members working from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, Justseeds operates both as a unified collaboration of similarly minded printmakers and as a loose collection of creative individuals with unique viewpoints and working methods. We believe in the transformative power of personal expression in concert with collective action.
Above: Close up of Santiago Armengold’s image. Four-color letterpress print.
When it comes to immigration, the messages we get are dominated by criminality and punishment. In 2010 alone, 250 anti-immigrant laws and resolutions modeled on Arizona’s SB1070 were passed.
2011 yielded devastating state laws in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah. Even more troubling is the ongoing trauma caused by family separation and deportation after the Obama Administration made Secure Communities (S-COMM) a mandatory program.
In this climate, the arts can help play a key role in telling the stories of how people are affected by these laws. Artists can go to the root of the immigration problem and help shift public perception of the issues.