“We Are Human Beings” is one of 5 installations I created from my #familiasseparadasproject. This installation took place in front of the ICE building in Philadelphia on October 12th, 2015. As ICE agents looked on, I led the installation with volunteers and families from Juntos, an immigrant rights organization based in Philadelphia. The 90’ words come from Ana, an undocumented mother, who was detained with her daughter at the Berks County family prison in Pennsylvania. Ana’s words were placed at the exit point where detained loved ones are transported to jails and prisons.
As part of Michelle Angela Ortiz's moving monument entitled, “Seguimos Caminando” (We Keep Walking) honoring the mothers at the Berks Detention Center, she led several free paper flower workshops open to the public at the Monument Lab Research Field Office at the Barnes Foundation.
Over a thousand paper flowers were created by more than 100 participants that include students, educators, and families in Philadelphia. The flowers made by the participants will joined the flowers made by the mothers detained at Berks which carry messages of freedom and the continued fight against family detention.
On Wednesday, October 25th at noon, the hand dyed flowers were assembled at the north gates of City Hall to spell out the 10’x40’ word “Libertad” (Freedom/ Liberty). The collective artwork is a creative action that was followed by a press conference led by the Shut Down Berks Coalition to put pressure on Governor Tom Wolf who has the power to shut down the center and end family detention in Pennsylvania.
This video documents part of the mural process of Michelle's mural as part of Living Walls in Atlanta.
This video highlights the messages of community members from Juntos. They share how deportations affect them.
On July 25th, 2016, Juntos, the #Not1More Campaign, GLAHR, Congress of Day Laborers and others marched during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia demanding migrant justice that actually addresses the persisting inhumane policies under the Obama Administration.
Somos Regla is a public art project in Regla (Havana, Cuba) led by artist Michelle Angela Ortiz as part of the Meridian International Center's Community Engagement through the Arts program.
Through the U.S. Embassy, artist Michelle Angela Ortiz conducted a series of workshops on urban art and recovery of public spaces, this time in Juarez, Mexico. In 2006, many communities in Juarez, Mexico lost their homes, family members and possessions in a violent flood. FECHAC, a privately funded foundation in Juarez, rallied together to build a channel Arroyo del Indio to protect the community from future floods and claim as their own space.
Familias Separadas project was chosen from 260 entries across the country. Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, honored 38 outstanding public arts projects created in 2015 through the Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review program.
In November, Ortiz worked with Habitajes in creating 2 murals with the Mazahua and Otomi indigenous communities. De la Memoria Al Muro built from Habitajes’ work and connect directly with both communities and from their stories of migration, identity, and their struggle in claiming safe spaces for their families. She trained local artists and indigenous youth to represent these stories in the creation of two 60' tall mural in Mexico City.
The “Aquí y Allá” transnational public art project created and directed by local artist Michelle Angela Ortiz. The project explores the impact of immigration in the lives of Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia in connection with youth in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Talleres Protegidos de Rehabilitacion is an institution that joins the Mental Health of the Ministry of Health, Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. This was a U.S. Embassy sponsored artist residency in April 2012.