Immigration is a hot topic in the news today. But often, the conversation leans strongly towards Latin American immigration. The growth of this Latin American immigrant community in the United States fuels hatred, stereotypes, and common misunderstandings about these people and their situations. Immigration into the United States is a complex issue. In my research paper, I want to explore the theory behind immigration: why are people immigrating? how are they immigrating? what are its implications? There is this idea that the United States presents endless opportunity at a better life; I hope to explore the realities and misconceptions about this idea. Writing and researching the theory behind immigration is quite an endeavor. So my topic has a few layers to it. The first is the study of immigration, the second is the study of the impact of one woman’s artwork (Favianna Rodriguez), and the third is studying immigration through the pathway of her artwork.
There is a video documentary series called “Voice of Art” that follows young artists who use their artistic expression as a means to challenge the way people think. In one of the episodes called Migration is Beautiful, a young artist and activist named Favianna Rodriguez initiates conversation about the issue of immigration in the United States. She discusses the ways that US citizens have scapegoated all immigrants for America’s own economic problems. In her own artwork and throughout her video series, she uses the monarch butterfly to represent and embody the idea of a beautiful migration. Her video series and her artwork are very interesting in that she uses them to recreate the idea of immigration. Rodriguez, an American-Latina herself, utilizes this monarch symbol to spread the idea of a “beautiful migration” across the country. Thousands of people daily post pictures of the butterflies or of them making a butterfly with their hands on social media websites. This activist movement to address the issue of immigration grows tremendously because of the influence of the artwork.
By closely examining Rodriguez’s artwork and activism, I will be able to draw a connection between technology and art and the spread of certain ideas: immigration. One of Rodriguez’s paintings is specifically about the torment created by these stereotypes about Latino immigration. I want to dive deeper into the meaning and symbolism of this piece of artwork.
For this research paper, my hope is to explore the connection between art and immigration. I want to study the ways that giant globalized movements such as immigration are affected by small works of art and activism. Globalization by one small movement at a time.