Arizona Highway

Self Help Graphics selected me to be apart of the 2012 Jornalero Papers. The Jornalero Papers
gathered the voices of 10 artists who live/lived the experience of
being a day laborer in America to take part in a special printmaking

I created a limited edition serigraph during the Jornalero Papers called Arizona Highway.

                                                                   Arizona Highway by Mel Dominguez 2012 ©

In creating Arizona Highway I was reminded of the time in my life when I worked as a foreman on a construction site and during this time I worked with many hard working jornaleros. I rode the transit system in Los Angeles everyday to the job site and during my rides, I was no different than the jornaleros, the domestic help, the wanderers, the abuelos, and the youth of our future all riding the public limousine. Arizona Highway is my attempt of putting us all on the bus, so that we can all better understand the situations on immigration and culture here in Arizona. 

  Los Abuelos (the grandparents) were the first to immigrate to the U.S. or the first to live here when it was Mexico. They represent the foundation of the family.

The scene looking out of the front of the bus is of Aviation Hwy in Tucson. I used this to speak to the locals, in order for them to realize that these issues are happening in their home town. The Homie represents the wander. The I.C.E Agent is faceless because he/she can be from any decent and easily blend in with crowds looking just like you or me right before they ask for documentation of your citizenship.

 The Student wants the right to the knowledge she deserves. She is also
holding one of the books that was recently banned in Tucson, AZ.

The shadowed character wearing the angels hat is the new representation of the sleeping Mexican; the result of a death while crossing the border through the Sonoran Desert. The construction worker is the hard working day laborer who doesn’t have a steady job but who is always on the move looking for the opportunity to work while also having to look over his shoulder in fear of being deported. The poster on the wall is another one of the banned books in Tucson. On my way to create this serigraph in Los Angeles I ran into the author of The Devil’s Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea at the airport and was able to share my image with him.

This section with the border crosser and the sign at the church was inspired by a trip to New Mexico where I met day laborers looking for work but who staying posted in front of a church looking for sanctuary. The message on the Virgin Mary is a telling to all of the true distance that these human beings have to travel and endure to work a menial job here in the United States.

Here is the domestic laborer, who is also a  mother. These mothers are hired to raise and tend to the families of others, while still being responsible for their own families. The child, while knowing the possibilities of being racial profiled, being detained, separated from family and deported still wants to make a positive difference in the world.

Thank you Self Help Graphics for being the foundation where artists can speak from their hearts! I created 56 limited edition serigraphs of Arizona Highway and they are available for purchase through Self Help Graphics & Arts, or directly through me.