Illustration from Hear My Voice / Eschucha Mi Voz by Daniela Martín del Campo

Art as Advocacy

On display at the Fulginiti Gallery & and Lobby through February 5th, 2024.

Art as Advocacy highlights four artistic projects that were inspired by the sworn testimonies of children arriving to the United States in 2019.  The children reported being taken into custody by the U.S. government shortly after arrival and having almost all their belongings taken away.

Many were separated from their families. Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children, and teenagers were forced to sleep on concrete floors for days on end with nothing to warm them except, occasionally, a mylar blanket.  The lucky ones would secure a coveted spot on a concrete block, or one of the bunks where the children would sleep in shifts, 3-4 at a time. Others were sent to sleep in tents in the desert surrounded by razor wire. The children described rancid food that they could not eat and water that smelled and tasted like bleach. There were no showers, soap, toothpaste, or toothbrushes. Girls expressed their shame in having to use toilets in open view of strangers. Illness was widespread and a lice infestation had broken out. There was no schooling, no books, no play. The children were seldom allowed outside. Some had been left in these conditions for weeks.

When the children’s sworn declarations with their brutal details were made public, the artistic community responded with fiery indignation and determination to ensure that the children’s voices would be heard, and their stories would be known. Although numerous initiatives were undertaken, Art as Advocacy highlights four: DYKWTCA (Do You Know Where the Children Are?), an art exhibit organized by conceptual artists; Hear My Voice/Escucha Mi Voz, an award-winning children’s book that interweaves the children’s testimonies with illustrations by a team of Latinx illustrators; 365 days…., an art campaign undertaken by an educational technologist who swore to paint an original watercolor embedded with a child’s quote every day until all the children detained were released from custody; and BorderX, a comics anthology organized by an MIT faculty member who teaches comics art.

On September 21, 2023 we held a symposium at the Fulginiti Pavilion that included panels focused on a variety of approaches to advocacy including arts and literature, law, medicine and behavioral health, music, and the performing arts. The multidisciplinary symposium emphasized the moral imperative all of us have to speak out when we witness injustice.
Details and recordings here>>

These projects and many others are representative of the work of Professor Warren Binford, who became the inaugural W.H. Lea Endowed Chair for Justice in Pediatric Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Colorado in 2020, where she is a Professor of Pediatrics (tenured), Professor of Law (by courtesy), and a core faculty member in the Center for Bioethics and the Humanities at the CU School of Medicine. She serves as the Director of Law, Policy and Ethics at CU’s Kempe Center on the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. Binford's expertise focuses on international children’s rights, 21st century forms of child abuse, exploitation and trauma, and multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches to child-focused research and policy.

This exhibit is curated by Sara Fischer.
Exhibition co-sponsored by the Kempe Center or the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect.Kempe Center logo

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