Transitory Permanence:

What does it mean to belong to the land? 

And what happens when your notion of home is a perpetual journey to the new unknown? 

There are exoduses of displaced people happening all around the world today. Millions are leaving their home countries, some looking to escape and some simply yearning for a dream. The purpose of this exhibition is to show the human behind the statistics and to acknowledge the path of the displaced toward a new culture as a surreal and uncanny permanence. 

I explore the journey of the displaced from country to country as a form of continuous transition, one that fragments the identity by having to exist in two different worlds without belonging to either. The journey of the displaced is one that never ceases. Even after arriving at the destination, the journey transitions from a traumatic event to a mental state of instability.

Through the eyes of the newcomer, the world becomes an unknown and unpredictable landscape. The feet, the boat, and the plane make the difference between life and death in unknown territory. The only solace the displaced have are the memories that they carry with them like personal objects, representative of their now past life.

My work today is informed by the need I have to represent people who have been displaced from their countries of origin due to political oppression, war, persecution, natural disasters, and poverty. I represent the struggle for acceptance with a figurative subject matter that is surrounded by a subversive environment by showing the displaced imposing themselves or blending in with the landscape. I combat the viewer’s perception of cultural archetypes regarding the appearance and behavior of the displaced. To emphasize the complexities and nuances of the displaced, it is important to recognize the interconnection of colorism, racism, and discrimination to deconstruct the idea of depersonalization that the media have projected onto American culture.

Corner Gallery, Jessie Ball duPont Center, 40 E. Adams St., Jacksonville

Author: Arbus

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