Blog Post #7, Tanner Smith- Political Expression Through Art

While we were in Ajo I could not help but admire all of the art sprawled across many of the walls of the city. Most of them were beautiful, but there were a few that stood out even more to me because of the messages that they conveyed. The art above, in particular, stood out to me and made me think for a little while. The first sentence, which says “For over seventy years my grandma’s high cheekbones were illegal” stuck with me, as the imagery of this sentence is incredibly powerful. For me at least it made me think of my own great grandmother smiling, and then made me reflect on how I would feel if people were calling on her to be deported. This is a pain that I will never have to personally experience, but one that thousands of people go through on a daily basis. I cannot imagine something that would be much more painful than having the government rip your family away from you, as it seems like a life-altering trauma that would leave a deep scar. I do not know if this painting was referring more to Mexican immigration or the historical situation of the O’odham, but it applies in both ways. When talking about the political issue of walls or immigration we need to remember that we are talking about families, just like ours, and real people. For people at the border, this is not some abstract ideological debate; it is very real, and will directly impact the lives of thousands of people. I would not want my family treated in this way, and I think people arguing for the wall need to try to put themselves in the shoes of the people who are directly affected by this situation.

2 Replies to “Blog Post #7, Tanner Smith- Political Expression Through Art”

  1. Art is the true form of expression. It has a way of talking that words cannot describe. You can really feel the pain those people felt when their family was not wanted in the area. It shows the political polarization of immigration through a whole new lens. These images painted all over Ajo make you feel a sense of nostalgia for a place you have never even visited. The power of the artwork in that town is hard to describe because it is a feeling within, but it grabs hold of you and is etched into your memory.

  2. Tanner, this is a cool post. I think art has the potential to revitalize areas more than anything else. It’s visually pleasing but also has the ability to embed interesting concepts and ideas and connect people through feeling where words might not be able to. Ajo was an incredibly unique town in this way because I have never seen so much art in a town so small. Some of the murals were related to the Tohono O’Odham and it made me think about the potential of art projects on the reservation. Ajo seems like it could serve as an example for other towns experiencing this sort of hardship. I also hope that similar efforts are instituted across the reservation and can help to revitalize culture and bring life to towns that may be suffering.

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