Monday, January 16, 2012

Caritas: The Immigrant in the Word print series

The paper I proposed for Inter-University Program for Latino Research’s conference, SIGLO XXI: Forging the Future of Latinos in a Time of Crisis, was accepted. I will be flying to NYC to present on a panel which will take place at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY in New York on February 23rd. My fellow panelists will be: Henry Rivera, Arizona State Senate Bill 1070 Daniel Eduardo Martinez & Jeremy Slack, The Migrant Border Crossing Study: New Evidence of the Unauthorized Crossing Experience through the Arizona-Sonora Border
My paper is entitled “Caritas: The Immigrant in the Word” which is the title I gave to the latest series of relief prints. The print series combines passages from books of the Bible with images of contemporary immigrant issues such as rights abuses due to legislation.
This 6 print series began with a print I created for the Consejo Grafico’s portfolio entitled “Borrando la Raya/Erasing the Line”. The portfolio consisted of images dealing with immigration issues. My contribution was a 9 x 13” color linoleum block print entitled “Fallecio el Señor Urbano Ramirez” (Mr. Urbano Ramirez died).
The idea for the image came about after I heard Mr. Baldemar Velazquez, President of Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) speak in 2009 at an award ceremony honoring my father, Maximino Rodriguez, with the Cesar Chavez Tri-Community Award. Mr. Velazquez told the shocking but now all to common story of farmworker, Urbano Ramirez Miranda, who died in a field in North Carolina and was not found until 10 days later. Undocumented = cheap & expendable labor.
Within his talk Mr. Velazquez, an ordained chaplain, spoke of his search through the bible for passages that deal with the treatment of the alien/immigrant among other people. He found three passages that spoke to this subject - Exodus 22:21, Numbers 15:15, and the one of which I chose to use as a footer to the image. The passage is from Leviticus 19:34 “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native born.” The print and quotes inspired me to create prints marrying the remaining passages with powerful images to make an impact on those that profess charity through their religion yet ignore the written word’s suggestions. I have expanded on the three passages with a few more for a total of six passages and images.

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