Staring Contest (My America)

Where are you from?

No, where are you really from?

Staring Contest (My America) is an action based on immigration, racism, and oppression. My body along with my brothers and sisters of color have been politicized by the media; more often than not Iā€™m labeled as a terrorist, beaner, camel jockey, sand nigger, etcetera just for being a brown man.

I continuously stare at the camera, my oppressor, naked and vulnerable. Eventually I begin to apply a red, white, and blue plaster mask stripping me of my identity and my freedom. This mask is the same mask that society molds and forces on me. The waves constant push and pull are the agencies that make me feel powerless. I try to stay strong. The uncompromising authority of the water shows how agency and power is taken away through systemic racism.

This piece is dedicated to my family who had to escape the Salvadoran Civil War, enter America to be free, start from nothing, and fight everyday to live in this country.