Francis Estrada and Wo Chan were inspired to create their drawing and poem, respectively, by the tragic 1994 shipwreck of the Golden Venture, a vessel smuggling people from China that ran aground on the Fort Tilden beach in the Rockaways, killing ten migrants. Buy a copy of this broadside here.
Here is Francis Estrada's artist statement:
I investigate relationships between characters and their environment, incorporating pieces of personal, historic and/or ethnographic photographs, text, and motifs (most of which broach the combined themes of history, sentimentality, and nostalgia). Using some or all of these pieces, I compose scenarios with which I find personal connections then arrange them without providing a complete image or narrative. I interrogate how context is created through combinations of these visual elements. How does the viewer identify with the images presented, and does the composition create a narrative? How do the combinations of images create notions of space, place, history, identity, or memory? By creating drawings that assimilate text, photographic reproductions, and/or symbols, I provide the viewer with a space in which they can decipher the visual clues and “complete” the work.
This drawing was inspired by the Golden Venture human smuggling case in the early 90's. I remembered hearing about it in the news when I was a teenager, not long after migrating to the United States with my family. The images that emerged from my memory were photographs of the immigrants on the beach in the early morning, wrapped in sheets, awaiting what comes next.