“Kaphar’s recent works paint tributes to what it means to be a mother of color in this country. His recent cover for TIME Magazine features the painting, Analogous Colors, which depicts a black mother holding a silhouette of a child, which Kaphar created by cutting into canvas. The image references Floyd calling out for his mother during his arrest, as he was pinned to the ground and held down by police officer Derek Chauvin for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The Border Patrol Station in Wesalaco, TX is chosen as a site is because here the US Border Patrol held sick teen, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant, in a concrete cell without proper medical attention and did not discover his body until his cellmate alerted guards.
Vasquez was seriously ill when immigration agents put him in a small South Texas holding cell with another sick boy on the afternoon of May 19, 2020. A few hours earlier, a nurse practitioner at the Border Patrol’s dangerously overcrowded processing center in McAllen had diagnosed him with the flu and measured his fever at 103 degrees. She said that he should be checked again in two hours and taken to the emergency room if his condition worsened.
None of that happened. Worried that Carlos might infect other migrants in the teeming McAllen facility, officials moved him to a cell for quarantine at a Border Patrol station in nearby Weslaco.
By the next morning, he was dead. This is a death that 100% could have been avoided.
Placing Kaphar’s words over this site points to the unwitnessed and silenced pain and anguish that Vasquez’s mother must have felt.”
Titus Kaphar is an artist whose paintings, sculptures, and installations examine the history of representation by transforming its styles and mediums with formal innovations to emphasize the physicality and dimensionality of the canvas and materials themselves. His practice seeks to dislodge history from its status as the “past” in order to unearth its contemporary relevance.
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