Rejin Leys is a mixed media artist and paper maker based in New York, whose work has been exhibited at such venues as Centro Cultural de España, Santo Domingo, DR; Kentler International Drawing Space, NY; Queens Museum, NY; and Les Ateliers J.R. Jerome, PaP, Haiti. Her work is in the collections of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Yale University, and Rutgers University Caribbean Studies Department, and she is a recipient of a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Rejin Leys, New York, NY, Imprisoned Lightning Serigraph
History isn’t made by heroes, but what would a monument to a movement look like? Or a statue to commemorate the ongoing struggle for justice for oppressed people? The Statue of Liberty wasn’t originally intended as a symbol of immigration, and there was no “beacon of hope” greeting Africans brought here as slaves. African Americans are told that our oppression is ancient history, best forgotten, while even the possibility of removing statues of Confederate traitors is hotly debated, in order to “preserve history.”
“Imprisoned Lightning” suggests a replacement to monuments for questionable heroes by looking at the history of migration to this country, and the ways different groups were welcomed and their labor and contributions valued.