Is This What Our Founding Fathers Had in Mind?
Linoleum, latex paint, barbed wire, spray paint, found objects mounted on wood
81 x 91 x 13 inches
“The Golden Medina”, the golden country was often how my grandfather and father thought of the United States. Like many outside the US, they imagined it to be a place where the streets were paved in gold. Opportunities galore awaited all those who made it to her shores, if only one could make it there.
While I didn’t dream of moving to America like my forefathers, my marriage to an American made it possible. And hence, my immigration story is a relatively easy one: having been born in South Africa and immigrating to Israel as a young child, I was already an English speaker. Marrying an American meant I benefited from “chain migration,” received a green card, and became a nationalized US Citizen without many obstacles.
This piece attempts to acknowledge my white privilege and pay homage to those less fortunate. The golden suitcase represents me. I sat on a plane, walked through an airport, and when I arrived in in the US, the US Customs and Border Patrol welcomed me, with my Israeli passport.
Yet there are those who sail treacherous waters, leave children behind, walk miles upon miles in the hot sun, hungry for food and thirsty for water - for the same opportunity I was afforded with minimal effort.
I came to the Golden Medina and I found it. Others come and find the gates locked. They are turned away, or worse, jailed, held in cages and separated from their children. Others don’t even make it: drowning, or dying in the desert on their quest to make it to this fictional land of plenty.
I do not believe that this is what our founding fathers or my grandfather had in mind.