Witnessing

With the latest news today of 545 migrant children whose parents have yet to be found, it seems fitting to share my latest quilt. Beginning in 2017, migrant children arriving in the United States via the Mexican land border were frequently separated from their parents so that the parents could be deported with fewer legal obstacles. Of the more than a thousand children who were separated from their parents, more than half still await reunion. Their parents cannot be located in the places to which they were deported and the raging pandemic only makes the court-ordered task more challenging.

My quilt is mostly a four-patch One Block Wonder using a desertscape fabric. Interspersed within the desertscape are Día de Muertos images of cats in grey cells. At the top of the quilt, by the image of the Virgin Mary, the grey cells are open so that you can see the cats inside. As you travel down the quilt, however, the bars of the cells become thicker, obscuring what’s inside, until at the end there is only a solid grey block. This gradual change to obscurity represents the static that over time has led to this issue barely registering in people’s consciousness, hence the title of the quilt, ¿No hay nadie que dé testimonio? (Is there no one to bear witness?)

The top is quilted with a meandering free motion design to represent the many circuitous routes that Mexican and Central American migrants take to travel north to the United States. The name of the quilt also appears in several places, though it becomes increasingly difficult to read towards the bottom, just as the cats are increasingly difficult to see. The back of the quilt features playful fabrics with the sort of piñatas that children from this part of the world would play with and enjoy.

¿No hay nadie que dé testimonio? (Is there no one to bear witness?) Be the witness.

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