Artsake recently caught up with artist Linda Bond (Sculpture/Installation/New Genres Fellow ’13). Her installation, Deadly Weapons, 2021, explores the practice of migrant detention in the United States.
Most of my studio time since last spring was devoted to a commissioned installation for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in Philadelphia. Installed this May, it is comprised of a bed covering and hanging tapestry made with colorful shoelaces and Mylar strips & a floor covered with Mylar emergency blankets. The piece was designed for a single cell in the facility and will remain in place for at least one year. The concept relates to detention at the U.S./Mexican border where migrants are stripped of their shoelaces – to prevent potential harm to themselves or others, but also to impede escape. When released back into Mexico to await hearings, the shoelaces are not returned. Resourceful people have torn strips from the Mylar rescue blankets they are given to create make-shift laces. In addition to these facts that inspired the installation, the colorful shoelaces represent the hopes and aspirations of the detainees and reference the colorful fabrics of Latin America, the source of many seeking asylum.
Image credit: All images courtesy of Linda Bond.