Wake Up
32 in X 24 in.(any, same ratio)
Digital painting.

While political and religious figures make pious statements, migrant workers are left to die in Arizona deserts.

 

Picture description: A group of politicians (US pres. G. W. Bush, New York state gov. Pataki, NY city mayor Giuliani) with some school children recite the pledge of allegiance to the U. S. flag. The flag, flying above them, morphs into a giant $100 bill. They are saying specifically "We pledge allegiance ... under God...".

 

To the right of this group is the head of Jerry Falwell saying "... Christian Nation ... blah, blah..." He is surrounded by various images and symbols which contradict his assertion: immediately below his head are the lovely exposed breasts of two young women in a casual embrace; to his right is a star of David (to remind him of a large, very American non-Christian religious grroup); in the upper right hand corner above Falwell is a muscular male torso; a group of football players in action; a graph of the S&P 500 stock index; in the top center is an image of Buddha in front of the back of a $100 bill with the words "In God" to the left of Buddha's head and the words "We Trust" to the right. (The Buddhist religion does not have a god.); to the left of the lovely breasts is a crecent and star of the Islamic religion, another large group of Americans Falwell ignores; below that is a large marijuana leaf; to the left of that is a bottle of Scotch whiskey; to the left of that are some french fries and a hamburger with lettuce, pickle and tomato; below the lovely breasts is the front of a Lexus automobile and in tho top left of the picture is a Ford Bronco sport utility vehicle. Background to all these are numerous $100 bills. All these materialistic goodies surrounding Falwell are to remind him that most Americans, even though some of them may profess to be believers, really to all intents and purposes, by their actions, are materialists, not Christians.

On a slight diagonal through the middle of the picture from left to right, from background to foregroung, there are respectively an altar boy, a child molesting Boston priest, Cardinal Bernard Law, and the Pope. The altar boy is saying" Awl, Father, What are you doing? That hurts!". The priest is saying "HOLY JESUS! I'm comming!". Cardinal Law is saying "...SSShhh...", while $100 bills are floating from his outstreched hands. The Pope is saying nothing.

Beneath these, in a more pronounced diagonal from left to right and background to foreground extends the corrugated iron border wall (Iron Curtain?), with wooden crosses mounted on it to represent those who died crossing into the U. S. These crosses were placed on the wall on the Mexican side by artists in Tijuana. Below the wall in a long diagonal from background to foreground is a ditch full of dead human bodies. (The image is from one of the German Nazi extermination camps from WWII.) On the left of the ditch is the figure of a bent over migrant worker. To the right of the ditch and in front of the wall stands the figure of Jesus with his right hand raised in welcome. Between the migrant figure and Jesus are the words of a love duet between Jesus and the soul taken from Bach's cantata BWV 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" (Wake Up,...) (one of the most beautiful love duets ever written):

Seele: Wann kommst du, mein Heil?

Jesus: Ich komme, dein Teil.

Seele: Ich warte mit brennendem Ole. /Eroffne den Saal/ Zum himmlischen Mahl!

Jesus: Ich offne den Saal / Zum himmlischen Mahl.

Seele: Komm, Jesu!

Jesus: Komm, liebliche Seele!

This may be translated as:

Soul: When do you come, my Lord?

Jesus: I come, as your partner.

Soul: I am waiting with burning oil. / Open the hall / To the heavenly feast!

Jesus: I open the hall / To the heavenly feast.

Soul: Come, Jesus!

Jesus: Come, beloved soul!

So, while we proclaim our righteousness and piety, surrounded by riches and luxury, we leave poor migrant workers to die miserable deaths from heat exhaustion and thirst in our deserts, with almost the only "Christian" caring about them being maybe Jesus. (There are a few people (Christian and other) who put out water stations and who patrol to perhaps rescue those who they find near death. But there are others who punch or shoot holes in the water barrels so the water all runs out.) More than 160 people died totally unnecessarily in 2002. How many will it be in 2003?

This "problem" could be solved so easily with no harm or loss or risk to anyone. All it would take is ink. From our congress and president. Pass a law allowing people to come here to work. When they get to a proper border entrance, take their photographs, fingerprints, get personal information and whatever other info that would be useful. Enter it all in a computer database. Issue them right then and there a tamperproof ID card to be used in all business transactions while they are here (employment, taxes, schools, etc.). They will come here anyway. Now we don't know who they are or how many, or where they go or what they are doing. With this ID system, we have all vital info in the database. When they leave, record the ID card. When they come back, check the ID against the database. Charge them a fee to cover the cost of the system (Many now pay $1500 to smugglers to help them get in the U. S., so a small fee ($10?, $50?) would not be as big a burden as they put up with now. The system could be staffed by personnel no longer needed in the border patrol. It would save us money. This humanitarian solution does not require any armed forces (no bombing of Bosnia), nor any shiploads of grain to the starving in Africa. Only ink.

This painting was on display at Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery and Workshop Sep 2002. A copy was sold at auction at Dinnerware Gallery fundraiser Oct 2002.

 
 

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