Familias Separadas

Michelle Angela Ortiz - Familias Separadas Philadelphia

"Familias Separadas” is a public art project that places at the forefront the stories of immigrant families affected by detention and deportations in Pennsylvania.  

Ortiz currently creating a series of temporary large-scale public artworks based on the interviews she conducted with mothers and children formerly detained at the Berks Detention Center for close to 2 years. These artworks will be installed in different locations in Pennsylvania. The goals of her project is to amplify the powerful voices of detained families, to create a platform through art to discuss the inhumane treatment in family prisons, and to further support the fight to end family detention in Pennsylvania and in the U.S.


Phase 1 of Familias Separadas  was installed on October 2015. Ortiz unveiled several temporary large-scale site-specific public art works throughout Philadelphia, including an installation in front of the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency in Philadelphia.


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Since March 2017, Ortiz has interviewed mothers and children formerly detained for close to 2 years at the Berks Detention Center. The Berks County Family Detention Center, a prison outside of Philadelphia for immigrant families is one of three family prisons in the United States, where children as young as two-weeks-old have been incarcerated. 

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