Migration is a phenomenon, not a problem, something that simply is
. The right to migrate and to move freely is our human right. When societies restrict or choke off the movements of their citizens, they end up doing the work of a dam–they generate power and control floods, but in doing so they destroy life and wreck the surrounding space.
This portfolio re-imagines migration as an inevitability, as a social practice that is not to be prevented but to be related to, like weather. All migration starts with social relationships. When people move, they are going either towards their families or communities, or more often, away from them. They move to help their relatives, or support them by leaving. People migrate because their homes stifle them, because those homes become burdens they need to shed in order to have full lives. They move in search of opportunity, or to escape their past, or to simply survive. They move because of lies they are told and that they come to believe, and they move to fulfill the most beautiful and fragile of dreams. Migration is fundamentally about our right to move freely across planet Earth, in search of our fullest and best selves.
Art and culture are the realm of ideas, images, and stories; it is where people make sense of the world, where they find meaning and forge community. Art drives ideas home in a way that is unmatched by any other medium- movements soaked in art can bloom, grow more powerful, and establish deeper roots. Many of the artists involved in the Migration Now portfolio are students of the great traditions of political printmaking, such as Mexico’s Taller de Grafica Popular and the inflammatory street graphics of revolutionary France in 1968 – graphic traditions which inform the works included here.
In addition to the members of Justseeds (like Mexican Anarchist block-printer and muralist, Santiago Armengod, Bay-Area Xicana activist and printmaker, Melanie Cervantes, curator and propagandist, Josh MacPhee, and Indigenist University of Michigan professor, Dylan Miner), participating artists include former Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, Emory Douglas, Undocumented DREAM Act agitators, Julio Salgado and Felipe Baeza, and Chinese-American visual artist and designer Imin Yeh. Others involved include renowned cartoonists, labor organizers, street-art provocateurs, and culture workers from across North America. More than half of the participating artists are members of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.
This is exhibit is part of the Exuberant Politics series, of which Obermann is a co-sponsor.