34,000 pillows

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Cara Megan Lewis and Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera have an unusual use for 750 lbs. of kapok fiber. They are using it to create an art project out of a the seed fluff. Symbolically the seed compares the transience of an air bourne fluff compared to immigrants and ease of access to the USA as restricted by “the bed quota.”

Excerpted from a talk given at University of Chicago: “To demonstrate its priority to enforce immigration law, the US Congress mandated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) maintain a quota of 34,000 detained immigrants per day in its 250 facilities around the country. This mandate also known as “the bed quota” inspired the collaborative Díaz Lewis’ performance based installation. In the installation, pillows are created daily from clothing donated by undocumented immigrants, prior detainees, and their allies.

With cooperation from the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, Díaz Lewis will make tangible the human impact of the bed mandate. Each pillow is available for purchase, priced at $159 each to reflect the amount of taxpayer money spent each day to detain one person. 100% of the proceeds for this project support the efforts of national and local immigration organizations whose efforts are dedicated to revealing the injustices of the detention centers and to restoring human dignity to those formerly detained. An ever-growing pile of pillows, the installation translates human experience in a bold and compelling way that statistics alone cannot.”

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Exhibition in San Francisco

kapok pillow
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