Refugees Trying to Get to the United States

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Found wood, plastic tubing, window screen, wire, Bondo, enamel, on wood
53 x 51 x 9 inches
Collection of
National Gallery of Art
Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Dial's refugees in Refugees Trying to Get to the United States are adrift on a raft of sticks and roots. The background, dripping crimson, ensures that we are aware of their bloody ordeals. But these boat people are neither Haitian nor Southeast Asian, and they are not really trying to get to the United States. They are already there. These refugees are marginalized Americans of all colors—pink, brown, and yellow. Dial's "yellow people" represent African Americans of mixed ethnicity, forever at sea economically—the underclass trying to gain participation in the system.