Know When It’s Time To Go. A warrior woman faces the unknown with bravery and fortitude.
I finished this piece up just in time for Mother’s Day 2021. The photo was taken at Ellis Island in 1910. The woman immigrating to the US with her children is identified as being Slovak. As I worked on it, I. reflected on all the mothers across the world who are uprooted from their motherlands and the incredible stamina and bravery it takes to carry on each day under such stressful conditions. Some are immigrants beginning new lives in unknown lands. Some are refugees fleeing from horrific situations just trying to survive another day with their children. In my mind, they are all the ultimate warriors on behalf of their families. In my art, I placed this mother and her children in a homeland she will continue to carry within her, as a dream, a memory, a connection to the land, a yearning, a touchstone, a sense of being, that is separate from the desperation that propels her to leave.
During the time of its greatest Immigration to the US ,1870- 1914, Slovakia had long been annexed as part of Hungary, and most Slovaks worked as peasant workers for wealthy Barron landowners. Hungary had also instituted policies of Magyarization which attempted to eradicate ethic minority cultures through forced assimilation. The primary reason that motivated Slovaks to leave their homes was poverty and starvation. Resources and land were all owned by the wealthy who continued to oppress those who worked for them to the point of bare subsistence. Unfortunately, during the time that the greatest number of Slovaks were coming to the US, anti- foreign sentiments were growing. Immigrants from Eastern Europe commonly were viewed as undesirable and a threat to the American way of life. Immigration from these countries was cut off by strict immigration laws put in place in the 1920s.
The Slovak Republic peacefully became an independent country in 1993. It is a developed country with a high-income economy that ranks high on the Human Development scale for its support for civil liberties, press and internet freedom, democratic governess, and peacefulness. It is a market economy with strong social support providing universal health care, free education, and one of the longest parental leave policies (wikipedia.org)