Through the Cracks

Artist: Erin Senyohl

Materials: sterling silver, fine silver, enamel

Dimensions: 20 mm, 28"

Beneficiary: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project promotes justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education. Each year, the nonprofit organization provides direct legal assistance in immigration matters to more than 10,000 low-income people from more than 150 countries. Northwest Immigrant Rights Project traces its beginning to the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s. Fleeing political repression and civil wars, hundreds of thousands of Central Americans sought safety and asylum in the United States. Many desperately needed legal representation and advocacy. In 1984, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project was founded to address this need.  Over the past seven months, the organization has been at the forefront of efforts to help immigrants in the Northwest disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Artist Statement: The coronavirus pandemic has tested the world like never before, with still no end in sight. It has claimed the lives of a million people and impacted the lives of billions more, primarily those who are impoverished and underrepresented.

Through the “eye” in my mask holder necklace — itself a reminder of the times we are in — I am conveying my view of the pandemic. I’ve watched as people have felt helpless, fallen through the cracks, and failed, in some cases, to adhere to science. The safety pins represent comfort and safety — and how those have been taken away from us.

The process started with me contemplating all that has happened since the pandemic began. I wanted an image that was steady yet being ripped and cracked apart. And I wanted to be looking through those cracks, to be a witness to our government failing us and our people failing to unite. Through this piece, I am calling attention to all the madness that has ensued and the need to change course.