Acrylic on tissue paper, aluminum mesh, wire and thread.
Monarch butterflies should never be confined to small cages.
These colorful, fragile creatures, with their slender bodies, patterned wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight, are synonymous with freedom of movement. They are sometimes called wanderers.
Moreover, because monarchs migrate thousands of miles twice a year — south from the northern United States and southern Canada to Florida and Mexico in the late summer and autumn and back again in the late winter and spring — they also embody life’s natural freedom to move without restraint from one country or region and settle in another.
The monarchs in this book art had these natural freedoms destroyed. These fragile butterflies are caged, like the 4,300 fragile children and infants caged by the Trump-Pence administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexican border.
These children are suffering traumatic psychological injuries to this day, with lifelong consequences.
That’s why my monarchs have torn wings. Even as they dream of escaping and flying to freedom, they cannot break the ties to each other — ties shared by the tragedy of the cage.