Walter Maciel Gallery is pleased to present With Liberty and Justice for Some, featuring the work of several contemporary artists who have been invited to create portraits of immigrants to the United States. The show is a statement on the many fears surrounding the announcement of our new president elect and a powerful response rejecting the presumed policies that threaten to disrupt basic civil rights.
As soon as the shock of the election results wore off, it became clear to us as art professionals our need to mobilize and create a positive message of hope within our curatorial program. Suddenly so many communities are finding themselves under duress, attack and even deportation. We began discussing our fears and challenges in hopes of sparking up ideas to unite us and protect the laws that support minority communities. Part of that dialog included an idea brought to our attention by Monica Lundy, an artist working in the Bay Area and previously exhibited at Walter Maciel Gallery, who envisioned a collaborative group show allowing artist to comment on their anger and frustration within our new political system. The conversation was further enhanced by gallery artist Hung Liu, and together we came up with the idea of featuring portraits of immigrants; examining the very notion of our country’s foundation as a melting pot of individuals who emigrated from other places. The United States was built on many freedoms created to protect all of its inhabitants and we have spent many years securing different human rights. The new president will no doubt disrupt and change laws already in place for fair government. The exhibition is appropriately planned in conjunction with his inauguration on January 20th and we hope the show will draw attention to many of the impending challenges.
For the project, we invited artists across the country to do 8 x 8 inch portraits of various individuals who came to the United States as immigrants including historic subjects, personal friends and relatives, strangers and self portraits. Several renderings simultaneously include disenfranchised communities, such as African Americans, LGBTQ persons, Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, refugees and women, thus representing many of the communities being threatened by the new administration. The work includes many different mediums such as acrylic and oil paint on canvas, mixed media and collage on panel, photography, drawings and other works on paper. The culmination of specifically selected portraits will be assembled in an installation depicting the American Flag while others are grouped together to celebrate the diversity of our country. Some of the notable subjects include actor Bela Lugosi, entertainer Grace Jones, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Jamaican political leader Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr., Architect I. M. Pei, Province of Pennsylvania founder William Penn and several established artists such as Hung Liu, David Hockney, Marcel Duchamp, Enrique Chagoya, Wanxin Zhang and Julie Mehretu. Two gallery artists, Maria E. Piñeres and Nike Schröder, will present self portraits.
A major part of the exhibition is our commitment to support many valuable organizations that we feel will be compromised under the new administration, and who continue fighting for the rights and privileges of our communities. With the support of all of the artists involved in the project, we are donating a portion of each sale to various non-profits including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Center for Reproductive Rights and the LA and SF LGBT Centers.
Walter Maciel Gallery extends a heartfelt thank you to Monica Lundy in our appreciation for her time, passion, dedication and overall organization in making this important exhibition possible. We encourage as much support and devotion in making the transition into our new America less fearful.