This is a portrait of Devon. Devon’s grandparents bought a home in the Crenshaw District in 1950, a few years after their illegal imprisonment in the Rowher, Arkansas concentration camp during World War Two. Two years earlier, a portion of the 1913 Alien Land Law was overturned, which enabled Devon’s grandparents the right to buy their 11th Avenue house. Prior to 1948, their right to buy and own a home would have been compromised by the 1913 Alien Land law which disallowed anyone “ineligible to citizenship” from owning or leasing land in California. The Alien Land Laws were specifically tailored to restrict property rights for all Japanese living in California.
The marks that compose the portrait are the words from the Webb Haney Alien Act, which was the first Alien Land law from 1913. The second Alien land law came in 1920 and closed existing loopholes
I am honored that LA Metro/Metro Art commissioned this portrait to be included in their permanent collection. They have been featuring their collection in multi format programs across the county to their ridership.
They will be featuring the work in a show titled “We Are…Portraits of Metro Riders by Local Artists”. It will be on view in the Union Station Passage way Art Gallery and online at:
The show points out the diversity of the community of Metro riders and is presented by Metro Art in collaboration with Metro’s Office of Civil Rights, Racial Equality & Inclusion and the Communication Department.
“Devon” 34 x 27 ink on panel