Solo installation by Pam Douglas
September 24 – October 19, 2019
Opening reception Sat., Sept. 28 5-8pm
5458 Wilshire Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Sanctuary an Installation by Pam Douglas Avows the Humanity of Refugees
Entering TAG Gallery, a visitor is immersed in life-size drawings of refugees walking behind a chain link fence and children trapped behind ropes. The 60-foot installation makes the viewer a witness to the refugee journey. This is the debut of Sanctuary, a multi-year project by Los Angeles artist Pam Douglas. The exhibit will be on view from Sept. 24 through October 19 with a reception on Saturday, September 28 from 5 to 8 pm.
Douglas explains her very personal response: “We are in a startling time hearing the cries of children torn from their parents at the American border. Beyond this country, refugees are seeking sanctuary around the world. This work is a visceral response to their humanity.”
Douglas observes that refugees are rejected as if they’re unwanted commodities and says the battered coffee bean bags used throughout the installation serve as a texture and a metaphor for them.
She chose a limited palette – charcoal and chalk on natural linen and tan burlap — to focus on the struggle and the beauty of the faces. The monochromatic “quote” also suggests newspaper imagery at a time when immigration is in the news, though none of these figures are actually from newspapers. Materials include: raw canvas, charcoal, pastel, clay, rope, sticks, acrylic, toys, a chain link fence, and the ubiquitous coffee bean bags.
On the floor, on a pile of the coffee bean bags, discarded shoes are strewn — men’s, women’s, and shiny pink ones from a little girl who we might imagine dressed as nicely as she could to arrive at her new home. The shoes left behind echo the European Holocaust and those who tried to escape on the Underground Railroad and the many walking to what they believed would be their salvation throughout history.
Part One of Sanctuary is travel by land. Part Two now in development will be travel by sea, installed in 2020. Part Three in 2021 will be the camps.
The spirit of Sanctuary echoes work by Ai Weiwei, JR and contemporary artists of Mexican heritage. Simultaneously, Douglas is curating Arrivals, an exhibit of work in a separate space within TAG featuring three artists with roots in other countries: Narsiso Martinez, Fabian Debora and Ching Ching Chen. Their opening reception will be at the same time on Sept. 28.
The Sanctuary exhibit catalog available at the reception raises funds for UNICEF.
About Pam Douglas
Los Angeles artist Pam Douglas has been well reviewed in shows including a large installation in the California African American Museum and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her work was featured at the Los Angeles Art Show at the Convention Center, January 2019 by the Los Angeles Art Association.