When US President Donald Trump suggested he wanted to have a wall built along the US Border against Mexico, artists made a stand on which side they are on in the immigration ban. The Manhattan Gallery has created their own wall of 700 immigrants' backpacks to acknowledge the migrants who illegally crossed the U.S. border that led some to their death.
Called the State of Exception, the exhibit showcases bags with migrants' clothing, personal photos, and items just enough to pass and survive the Sonoran Desert. The people carried water jugs and medicines despite not getting through the border.
The project was initiated by Anthropologist Jason De Leon, artist and photographer Richard Barnes, and artist-curator, Amanda Krugliak.
One of the curators of the exhibit at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center of The New School told ABC News: "Now, more than ever, in the aftermath of a presidential campaign that fed off anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, it is absolutely critical to look deeper into the migrant experience and raise questions as to what the future may hold for the thousands of people fleeing dire poverty, drug cartel violence, and political instability to the south."
The design center wishes to present itself as a state of inclusion where migrants are welcome there. The exhibit opened on February 10 and will be up until April 17.
This is not the first time artists have made a statement regarding Trump's travel ban. New York's Museum of Modern Art started replacing paintings by Picasso and Matisse to honor painters hailing from the seven Muslim-majority countries listed by the law.
On February 8, a group of artists, curators, and critics wrote a letter showing their ire and dismay over the travel ban. "Our field is dependent upon international collaboration and cross-cultural exchange, and these cross-borders and cross-cultural collaborations benefit the general public; the ban thus affects all of us," the letter states.