Land of the Free?: Immigration and Otherness

Located at The 5 & Dime Theater in Jacksonville, FL

Promotional imaging featuring Imprisoned #3 by Ricder Ricardo

Introductory Statement

What does it mean to love a country that does not love you back? What does it mean to search for freedom, only to find yourself trapped? What does it mean to be welcomed in, but kept at a distance? These are only a few of the questions explored in Sam Shepard’s The God of Hell, but they are important ones in a political climate that slowly chips away at our civil and human rights.

To usher in the new theatre season at the 5 & Dime, Yellow House has chosen to highlight two individuals from its current exhibition (Re)Set the Table. Ricder Ricardo and Malath Albakri are local artists whose works are shaped by the joy and agony of migration. Ricardo’s artwork explores his Cuban roots while making sense of an identity that exists between two cultures. Albakri, an Iraqi immigrant, uses art to examine the daily struggles of refugee women and the labor of creating a home away from home.

Together, these artists speak to the ways immigrants find themselves isolated and oppressed. Just as the patriotic Mr. Welch pursues Greg Haynes, the play’s radioactive refugee, so too do immigrants living in America face the threat of persecution. And like the other characters in The God of Hell, we are all affected by this injustice. Both The God of Hell and Land of the Free? remind us that our own freedom rests upon the freedom of others. Through this partnership between the visual and performing arts, Yellow House and the 5 & Dime hope to stimulate conversation and reflection about citizenship, otherness, and freedom.

For 2019, The Gallery at The 5 & Dime will continue to host exhibitions curated by Yellow House with each installation having a direct connection to the themes and ideas being explored on stage.

Installation work by Malath Albakri