La Hielera/The Icebox
fiber, traditional wet felting, trapunto, embroidery and surface embellishment
11 x 10.5 x 5.25 in.
This piece is a commentary on the humanitarian crisis at our southern border and throughout the country at immigrant holding centers.
The Monarch butterfly is the universal symbol of migration and the butterflies used here represent the thousands of hopeful souls trekking north, risking their lives to find passage through hostile terrain to reach the supposed “safety” of the United States border. Sadly, under the current regime, these people are incarcerated upon arrival, stripped of their dignity and personhood — their children ripped from their arms. “La Hielera” translates to “the icebox” and this felted cage is symbolic of the frigid holding cells where detainees are kept for days. Thirty-five butterflies are trapped in this cage, each one representing the 10,500 children who have been separated from their families. Sadly, the number has increased exponentially since this piece was completed.
© Susan Hale