DERAILED, 2023.  Acrylic on canvas with mixed media.  72 x 72.”

DERAILED is a large-scale, mixed-media acrylic painting that uses railway objects and visuals to examine relationships between racialized violence, infrastructure, and historical canons. While recognizing New York City’s contemporary subways as centers for potential danger, the painting draws careful connections across shared histories of labor and movement beginning with 19th-century migrant railroad workers. Synthesizing photographic imagery of New York City’s 7 Train with reproductions of documents, texts, maps, and toy trains, the painting presents rail lines as pathways that pierce through complicated legacies of systemic racism. The landscape imagery used in the painting, collected from observation in Flushing, Queens, records the rail infrastructure that enables daily mass-migrations of satellite working communities to fill service jobs in Manhattan. The composition also alludes to Corky Lee’s famous restaging of the photograph commemorating the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, in which the artist honored the descendents of the rail workers pushed outside the frame.

DERAILED traces repressed histories of migration, class struggle, and racialized violence through the rail, demarcating the image of the railway as a symbol of resistance. To derail is to acknowledge the structures that delineate our shared histories and crash through them. Into wreckage; into futurity.