‘Drawings By Themselves’ A Look into Immigration Detention – Through Courageous Eyes

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Today’s post for the Through Courageous Eyes series showcases the drawings and story of Marcela Castro who was held in U.S. immigration detention. This blog is curated by Cecilia Pessoa, LIRS Communications Associate.

Marcela is originally from Costa Rica and came to the United States to seek asylum. While in detention, art was an outlet for processing her feelings, but she has been drawing as long as she can remember. One of her first drawings was a portrait of her father.

In this video Marcela shares her drawings while explaining her experiences with the dispiriting conditions in detention.

Her work is part of a multimedia project supported by LIRS called Drawings By Themselves: Portraits of America, which was organized by Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC).

Drawings By Themselves: Portraits of America is a multimedia project, which provides children and parents impacted by U.S. immigration detention with an opportunity to share their stories and their drawings.

The title refers to the fact that many of these mothers, fathers, and children are separated from their family; they are alone, and hence, the drawings are done “by themselves.” Through their artwork, these children and parents tell a story about America today. In doing so, they claim America as their own.

Listen to the story of Carolina, a 16-year-old girl in U.S. immigration detention. Her story is brought to life through paintings by Marcela Castro, a young mother who was held in U.S. immigration detention and remains separated from her daughter.

This project was released on November 20, 2014, in honor of the International Day of Action to End Child Detention and the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Find all the previous posts in the Through Courageous Eyes series.

Through Courageous Eyes features the artistic work of refugees and migrants. If you would like to showcase your artwork as part of the Through Courageous Eyes series, please contact Cecilia Pessoa at cpessoa@lirs.org.

Banner photo credit: Johanan Ottensooser

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