Detention at the Border

Detention at the Border of Language, Enrique Chagoya, 2019

One of the most horrible acts ever perpetrated during the Trump administration was the process of family separation, where young children were taken from their parents and then put in cages. The cruelty of this policy was graphicly portrayed on the July 2, 2018, cover of Time Magazine. Titled Welcome to America, the cover shows a small crying girl of Hispanic origin looking up at Trump who returns her stare, but without any sign of compassion. Pictured above, artist Enrique Chagoya has used as a point of departure an analogous historical situation from 1776, the kidnapping of Daniel Boone’s daughter Jemma. This incident, most memorably portrayed by Charles Wilmar with his painting The Abduction of Dainiel Boone’s Daughter by the Indians (1853) forms the basis for Chagoya’s caricature. Chagoya scrambled the identities of the figures, who take on heads borrowed from different Indigenous people, while Jemma becomes a cartoon duck. In doing so, the artist calls attention to the irony that people living on historically stolen land carry hatred towards foreigners.

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