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Lourdes Bernard, The Women of April: Revolution and Migration
The Women of April: Revolution and Migration is a research-based Migration series that unpacks the recent history of Dominican immigration and the eventual creation of the Dominican diaspora. The exhibit highlights The Women of April who were untrained civilian resistance fighters who fought against the 42,000 US marines ordered by LBJ to invade the small Caribbean nation on April 28th,1965. The images celebrate the thousands of women who fought and resisted the US invasion. The women were attorneys, journalists, artists, teachers, academics, housewives and students. This excavated history re-imagines their stories to convey their heroic struggle for freedom.The small and large format works raise questions about the impact of US imperialism and the cultural price of displacement and migration.
“It begins when the first bombs were fallen on our home. American foreign policy is the beginning of American citizenship for so many of us.” -Ocean Vuong
“Shortly after I attended the DC Women’s March in 2017, the new administration began to roll out new immigration policies to ban Muslims, eliminate DACA, and to remove temporary protected status of vulnerable immigrant groups. In the midst of this I became curious about my own parents’ migration journey and began historical research which eventually led to a three-part Dominican Migration series. Until then, I didn’t know my own story well enough to fully feel the impact of my immigrant experience. As I learned about the Trujillo era and the US’s role in sustaining his tyranny, I made the first images in shock, then anger which gradually gave way to awe and that felt like a new start. It didn’t settle anything for me about our early years in Ciudad Nueva which coincided with the US bombing and occupation, but I had discovered a part of myself that had been hidden and unknown. This art documents history by witnessing what happened. I made drawings to fixate something, to capture and digest the past clearly for the first time. The historical drawings became part of my story, which is also a universal story of immigrants that have had to flee the instability created by US wars.”