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September 18, 2021 – January 9, 2022
One thousand, nine hundred and sixty-six Monarch butterflies overpower the confining Sliver Space at the Atlanta Contemporary for #ChingaLaMigra, an installation that invites the viewer to pause and hear the voices of those who have been harmed by Georgia’s Stewart Detention Center (SDC)—one of the largest and deadliest immigration detention centers in the country. It is operated by private prison company CoreCivic in contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has the capacity to cage 1,966 people.
Unlike the bright orange and yellow Monarch butterflies in my murals, the 1,966 Monarchs in #ChingaLaMigra are “in shadow,” individually water-colored in lightened tones and cut by hand to reflect the complexity and full humanity of each person who has survived SDC or continues to resist from within. The black butterflies represent those whose lives were lost within the confines of this facility.
The butterflies are tightly packed in the Sliver Space to personify immigration detention but can also be experienced as a unified, larger force—a collective power of strength and incredible resilience.
This installation is a collaboration with El Refugio and Detention Watch Network. For more information on how to take action, visit yehimicambron.com/activist.
Yehimi Cambrón is a DACAmented artist, activist, public speaker and entrepreneur born in San Antonio Villalongín, a small town in Michoacán, México. She became undocumented at seven years old when she immigrated to Atlanta, where she was raised. Cambrón’s work elevates the stories of immigrants, celebrates their humanity, and has a special focus on the experiences of Undocumented Americans. She has painted landmark murals in Atlanta that unapologetically assert the presence of immigrants, depict the intersectionality, diversity, and complexity of their stories, and challenge the white male-centered history of who is worthy of a public, monumental celebration. She is currently partnering with El Refugio to shed light on the stories of those who are being harmed by the Stewart Detention Center, a for-profit immigration detention center located in Lumpkin, Georgia. This public art project will educate and call the public to action to advocate for the closing of the immigration detention centers in Georgia.
- Curated by Veronica L. Hogan