The United States' Debt to Immigrants

The United States' Debt to Immigrants
AP Photo/File

This spring, while on break in London, I rode the train two hours north to Birmingham and back in one evening to see an exhibit by the British artist Hew Locke. I'd seen his work in New York and was taken with his visual vocabulary, one entirely his own and haunted by colonialism. He transforms found objects and historical memorabilia (old coins, for example) into armadas of model boats that evoke refugees, slaves, immigrants; and he dresses Victorian statues as if they were going to Carnival, displacing them in the imagination from the center of empire to the Caribbean periphery that made that empire rich.

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