It’s an installation piece that integrates two Lists of Deaths in ICE Detention Centers between 2003-2017 and 2018- October 2021. The public records of the first period can be found at www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/reports/detaineedeaths-2003-2017.pdf. The period of 2018-2022 can be viewed at www.ice.gov/detain/detainee-death-reporting
The installation is made out of plywood and gypsum panels that measure 8′ x 4’x 2 1/2″. Each panel has a white background and is framed with copper borders, a conductive metal known to support healing by keeping the pathways for healing open. Individual panels house twenty names, except the first panel that holds twenty-one names.
Over a period of five years, after gaining my permanent residency. I traveled with family and friends across country acquiring soil from the following state intersections: Nebraska/Iowa, Texas/Louisiana, Georgia/Alabama, New Mexico/Texas, Arkansas/Mississippi, California/Nevada, Mississippi/Alabama, Iowa/Minnesota, Nevada/Utah, Maryland/Pennsylvania, Washington/Virginia, Kansas/Nebraska, Kentucky/Tennessee, Arizona/New Mexico, Georgia/Florida, Ohio/Kentucky, Ohio/Indiana, Puerto Rico, Baja California/California, Rhode Island/Massachusetts, South Carolina/North Carolina, New Jersey/New York, Colorado/Utah , Missouri/Illinois, and Connecticut/Rhode Island.
I used the acquired soil to reembody the names of the deceased. The soil represents their place of death. The soil is bound with cornflower, salt and rainwater. The soil dough is cast in silicone molds and frozen before being baked in order to maintain their shape and consistency. . People from my different communities in Los Angeles and family members from out of state gather to cast, carve, and embed the names.
The names of the children who lost their lives in Detention centers are not part of the public records. Instead of using soil to cast their names, shredded news articles that documented the children’s deaths and chia seeds are used to reembody them.