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The Last Discovery of America

Mata Ruda

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This painting is influenced by Richard Rodriguez’s writing, specifically his book Brown: The Last Discovery of America. This painting is a contemporary take on the issue of migration as we know it today. A border patrol agent arrests an undocumented immigrant as he crosses the border into Arizona.

Apprehended refugees are taken into custody by privatized corrupt prison systems and eventually deported back to the country they fled, often times with no money after their belongings have been confiscated by the patrols and prison system. Deporting refugees is criminal and places the immigrants in the very places they risked their life to escape. I painted a framed study of a Monarch butterfly which is a representation of the migrant. The monarch embodies hope for those who must travel great distances to survive and prosper. Like the butterfly, who also travels across the continent, migration is transformation and transformation is beauty. The top border is a panoramic landscape view of the Arizona desert as the sun sets and America is (re)discovered for the last time.

See more of Mata Ruda’s work here.

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