Works by Judith Joseph included in "Refuge/ Refugee" at Northern Illinois University Art Museum, Aug. 24- Nov. 12, 2021

Marie Antoinette Visits the Border, 2019. Gown fashioned from mylar shock blankets, manikin, wig, digitally printed decals, vintage barbed wire, cloth and fabric roses, water wings.

Marie Antoinette Visits the Border, (detail).
Marie Antoinette Visits the Border, (detail).
Marie Antoinette Visits the Border, installation view at Koehnline Museum, Des Plaines, Illinois.

Detained/ Contained, 2019.  Baby garment fashioned from mylar emergency shock blankets, photo decals, snaps

Detained/ Contained installation view, in i am. an immigrant, exhibition at Institut fur Alles Mogliche, Berlin, Germany.

About Marie Antoinette Visits the Border and Contained/ Detained

Statement by Judith Joseph

These works explore the relationship between the wealthy and powerful who control immigration policy and the displaced, insecure masses of refugees. As I obsess about the children our government has ripped from their families and incarcerated in cages, the image that keeps returning to me is the “shock” blankets, which offer thermal insulation but little comfort in over-air-conditioned cement holding pens.

I chose this material, a high-tech by-product of our sophisticated space program, to fashion garments for two figures on the opposite ends of the power/privilege scale. The gown is made in the style of Marie Antoinette, who is known for being clueless and privileged. The “print” on the skirt is actually photo decals of exhausted refugees, which I digitally altered to resemble a textile repeat pattern. The baby garment has decals of crying refugee children. The impervious mylar is the opposite of the soft, warm garments we normally give to babies, and highlights the cold comfortlessness of their condition.