PROJECT STATEMENT

These flags represent what America and the American dream mean to many people: employment, opportunity, and citizenship with recognition of civil, political, and social rights. I painted signs I saw around my city that reflected the state of our nation onto readymade American flags purchased at Wal-Mart. I redeployed the flag, a symbol of colonial and capitalist power, as familiar signs seen yet usually ignored by most Americans. They mean little to most but everything to many. Currently in the US, many immigrants and refugees are being detained in remote locations with limited access to legal services or information about their rights. They are expected to fight for due process and justice without the means or access to legal representation. 

By recreating a sign of an immigration Abogada/Attorney on an American flag, I aim to subvert the racist, xenophobic, and nationalistic feelings in the current political climate. The US as it is today was originally conquered by immigrants, this is the story of our nation. If someone you know is being detained, please help them get in contact with legal representation by calling the number on this flag, or finding an attorney at https://www.ailalawyer.com/ 

While in line to order food, I saw the back of a Help Wanted sign in the restaurant window. As I looked around, the people in the front were white and the folks in the back were people of color. At the same time, TV news was blaring in the corner. Trump had just been elected and immigrants and border issues were at the forefront. At that moment, I felt this Help Wanted sign was my call from inside the US to the outside world. I made this flag thinking of the exploitation of legal and illegal workers, as well as the helplessness I felt as an unwilling participant in our faulty capitalistic system.

 
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ABOGADA/ATTORNEY

Acrylic on Embroidered American Flag
2017

HELP WANTED

Acrylic on Embroidered American Flag
2017

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ABOGADA/ATTORNEY

(detail)

 

GINA GWEN PALACIOS

Gina Gwen Palacios was born in Taft, Texas. She earned an MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio Art at Brandeis University, an MA from The University of Texas at Austin in Instructional Technology, a BA from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi in TV/Film and an AA from Del Mar College in 
Radio/Television.  


Gina has exhibited at Arlington Art Center (Arlington, VA), Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art (Victoria, TX), Asya Geisberg Gallery (New York, NY), Villa Victoria Center for the Arts (Boston, MA), List Art Center, Brown University (Providence, RI), BAIT15 (Abu Dhabi, UAE) and the Newport Art Museum (Newport, RI).  


Drawing on her family history and Mexican American identity, Gina uses traditional and non-traditional materials, to highlight an often underrepresented geographic and cultural narrative. Growing up in South Texas, she absorbed her parents’ stories of migrant farm work, cotton picking, and the discrimination they experienced in the region. Although vast expanses of the southwestern US were once part of Mexico, Mexican American families who have deep roots in the area are treated as outsiders, as usurpers of the land and resources their families have occupied, in many cases, for generations. She creates portraits of family history, using colors and materials that emphasize their connection to their surroundings and the long cultural lineage of which they are a part of.


Gina is currently an Assistant Professor of Painting/Drawing at The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. 

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