The artwork attempts to reflect part of refugees' prolonged struggles, depicted in oil and acrylic paints on canvas, with the Mexico side emphasizing community and the US side portraying isolation; the piece addresses the plight of 17,000 refugees in Tijuana, MX, enduring challenging conditions in refugee camps, finding solace in communal activities, yet facing neglect upon reaching San Diego, as the US Border Patrol's abandonment leaves non-profits as the sole advocates, exacerbated by shelter shortages, highlighting the United States' consistent failure in addressing refugees' needs.
My motivation for this work stems from personal experiences gathered throughe3w volunteer efforts on both sides of the border and from UCSD class discussions addressing the prolonged struggles of refugees in waiting. This period of waiting, often extending for years, becomes an indefinite ordeal for many.
I created this artwork with oil and acrylic paints on canvas, freehanded. I wanted to embed texture and color on the Mexico side to highlight the sense of community and family, and the US side as bare, flat, and dim. I also wanted to make this a simplistic piece to capture a basic understanding of what goes on, almost as if from a child's perspective.
In Tijuana, Mexico, over 17,000 refugees anxiously anticipate the chance to cross into the US. These individuals endure challenging conditions in various refugee camps, marked by precarious circumstances and a substandard quality of life. Despite this, a resilient sense of community emerges as they share stories, children play, and support each other. Organizations such as the Refugee Health Alliance play a role by providing vital resources like food and medicine. While waiting for the opportunity to seek asylum in the United States, Tijuana's refugees find solace in music, dance, church, and communal activities.
However, the situation takes a turn for the worse when refugees reach San Diego, California. They received nothing and face isolation and neglect, often separated from their families and dropped off at locations like the Iris Transit Center without financial resources or shelter. Their sense of community is gone. The abandonment by the US Border Patrol leaves non-profit organizations as the sole advocates for these vulnerable individuals. The scarcity of shelter space exacerbates the issue and migrants too often have to navigate the streets while awaiting connection with their sponsors if they are not detained. San Diego's consistent failure to address the needs of refugees over the years has plunged them into perilous situations. The Waiting for Nothing by refugees is at the fault of the United States.