Illegal on Charcoal by John Bontrager

Creative Project #1, PHIL 114 Global Moral Issues, Summer 2017, Purdue University

Kentucky Club

Justification for artwork:

In my artwork for “Everything Begins & Ends at the Kentucky Club,” I used a charcoal drawing of a man’s back that I found online to represent Nick from “The Art Of Translation,” although the figure can stand in for any immigrant that is stereotyped and profiled in the U.S. I put the word “illegal” in red on the back of the figure to represent Nick’s wound, and various words that Nick looks up in the story float around his head in both English and the Spanish equivalent. For this piece I wanted to try to encapsulate the way that language can define and shape both ourselves and others. My main inspiration for the piece came from pages 57 and 63 in the novel, particularly the quote that reads “I looked up the old words in the dictionary, words I’d once known the meaning of: home, death, knife, skin, blood, knife, hate.”

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