Suzanne Scott Constantine

Jetsam (2019)
mixed media on paper
10 x 8 in.

This piece is part of a larger body of work about the “disposability” of people attempting to escape violence and abuse. The pieces are mixed media collages created around the iconic orange life jacket, stamped onto various grounds — transformed National Geographic paper, two “toe tags,” watercolor paper, and deli paper. The lifejacket icon is a handmade linocut, stamped and re-worked with ink and collaged over to create line and form. Close inspection reveal the undeniable truth of our country’s white supremacist foundation, policies, and laws. Among the found objects in the pieces are text cut out of important books, such as Policing Black Bodies, chains, and rope.

Sticking with the navigational theme of the life jacket, the title “Jetsam” is material deliberately jettisoned (or dumped) from a boat or ship. These iconographic work represents the unconscionable treatment of human beings in need of refuge. But the life jacket is bigger than the refugee crisis. It is a metaphor for all of the “disposable people” — the families separated, the children in cages, the Black women and men shot and killed by police, the unnamed women of color who suffer the effects of racism and sexism, and LGBTQ people whose rights are contested and tenuous.

© Suzanne Scott Constantine