Tufts University has announced it will host a temporary art project during which signs mimicking fire escape plans will be posted in buildings to inform illegal aliens how to flee potential Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.
The “ICE Escape Signs” will be unique to each building in which they are placed, featuring floor plans and emergency exit routes.
Started by artist Jenny Polak, the project will be featured at Tufts during the coming school year as part of a broader year-long series designed to be displayed outside the art galleries called, “Walls Turned Sideways: Artists Confront the Justice System.”
“Polak will work with the Tufts community to create a series of site-respondent signs throughout campus beginning in the fall as part of her ongoing series – ICE Escape Signs. A decentered public art project, ICE Escape Signs are designed for specific floorplans and draw attention to the fact that people are living in daily fear of being caught in a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the Tufts University Art Galleries website explains.
Venues that have already hosted the project include NJIT School of Architecture, Newark, NJ; Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca, NY; Seven Hills Conference Center, CA; Queens Central Library Gallery, Jamaica, NY; and the Copenhagen Central Library, Denmark, according to Polak’s website.
Jenny Polak, ICE Escape Sign: CAM Houston, 2018. Digital print face-mounted on Plexiglas, Edition 1 of 3. Courtesy the artist. pic.twitter.com/ocZ7eWoTjO
— Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (@camhouston) September 26, 2018
“She’s been doing this project since the late 90s, where she’s created ICE escape signs,” Chief Curator Dina Deitsch told Tuft’s Daily. “On the visual level, it looks like a fire escape sign, but talks about immigration politics and policies, and it’s just called ‘ICE Escape Signs.’”
“For populations that are not at risk, but then also for communities that are at risk, how do you create an empathetic or sympathetic, forward-thinking space about it?”
Asked for comment by Campus Reform, Tufts University spokesman Patrick Collins said the “exhibits that are highlighted by Tufts University Art Galleries are meant to provoke and encourage thoughtful, constructive dialogue, an important aspect of Tufts’ commitment to promoting civic engagement in the lives of its students and community members.”
“As a university, we recognize the power of art to stimulate conversation about difficult issues of the day. Inclusion of artwork for exhibition does not indicate university support for the views expressed.”
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Cornelius Rupert T.
Cornelius Rupert T.