Caren Jo Shapiro
(East Strousburg, PA)
Oil on Canvas
20” x 16”
I was moved to do a series on the Border Wall not just in response to the cruelty of US immigration policies, but more broadly as a commentary on the rigid thinking the wall embodies. COVID-19 and climate collapse (to name only two current crises) demonstrate in concrete ways that our society must transcend outmoded ideas of borders -- us v. them, rich v. poor, inside/outside -- if we are to have any hope for a humane future on this planet. By not doing so, we cannot escape bouncing back on our own reflections, making no progress, standing inert like the figure portrayed in this composition. Even though no specific solution is offered, I hope this piece may inspire viewers to examine unquestioned categorizations. Only by breaking out of our mental constraints can we begin the slow, difficult work of talking to those with whom we disagree, searching for common ground, building trust and ultimately cooperating to effectively and equitably address global challenges.
MAGA? highlights the Trump Era's complete disregard for America's long history of slavery, subjugation and dehumanization. Just as many white and black people are struggling to understand, validate, rectify and grapple with restitution, the other half of our country 'glorified and sought to return to the old days' of a white supremacist America. This painting strives to capture the emotional torture involved in being confronted with that vile American desire for the 'good ole days!', and the recent assault and betrayal of our collective human experience.