Based in Chicago, the duo Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera and Cara Megan Lewis make art together to prompt social change. In Díaz-Perera’s words, “Art can go places where other platforms cannot.” Alarmed by the congressional mandate that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) maintain a “bed quota” of 34,000 detained immigrants per day in its facilities, Díaz Lewis set out to make a pillow for each bed. Continuing the project they began in Chicago last January, the artists construct pillows from clothing donated by undocumented immigrants, former detainees, and their allies to form a collective patchwork of individual experiences. The pillows’ comfort and support are not purely symbolic: the artists are selling each handcrafted object for a donation of $159 — the government’s daily cost for detaining an immigrant — to Human Rights Watch, an organization that provides alternatives to the bed mandate and detention centers, and restores human dignity to former detainees.
Visitors are welcome to participate in the pillow-making; please inquire with an on-site exhibition Art Guide for details.
To make a donation and secure a pillow, simply go to the Human Rights Watch website and follow the instructions for making a donation. Under “tribute type,” select “in honor of” and enter “34,000 Pillows.” Take your electronic receipt to an on-site exhibition Art Guide to collect your pillow.
- Installation Views
- 34,000 Pillows Workshop Open House
Cuban artist Alejandro Díaz-Perera and Kansas City, Missouri, native Cara Megan Lewis merged their art practices in 2012. Their work as the collective Díaz Lewis draws on their roots in conceptual art, performance, photography, and sculpture, exploring issues of human rights and nurturing a tradition of social activism.