Reversal of Fortune


My mother and father immigrated to the United States from Latin America in the late 1960's. Although I lived my early years in Latin America and am Latina, I was born here, and speak both languages fluently.

I have personally experienced racism frequently and in all parts of this country, from New York City through Oakland, California. The incidents have a surprising variation; in Texas, on a job site, where a construction foreman attempted to physically assault me and other Latin workers because he was under the impression that we were illegal aliens and under no protection; in San Francisco, at the San Francisco Art Institute, where a professor insisted that my "Third World" and "Latin" art did not belong in galleries; in Santa Fe, New Mexico where a white man tried to run me over with his truck because he thought I was Native American, shouting racial insults as he drove off. These are just a few of many incidents that have framed my insight into what it is to be treated as an outsider in white America.

I am very concerned now about the lack of understanding of the immigrant experience and the role immigrants play in the United States. I am appalled at the extent to which racism and xenophobia are used as political weapons on local and national levels, and by how negatively this is affecting the everyday lives of both legal and illegal immigrants.

The immigrant, legal or illegal, is integrated as a vital and necessary component of the United States economy and culture. The ignorance of the white community about this "hidden" fact serves to downplay the necessity for the immigrant in the United States. With Reversal of Fortune, I hope to inform people about the lives of immigrants beyond stereotypes, to give people a sense of how voluntary or non-voluntary migrations alter one's life

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eversal of fortune readings
The Justice Card

The Tower Card
Corrido del Inmigrante

installation detail
photo by Paul Baker