This piece targets a crucial institution in the United States of America: the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) that operates under Homeland Security. ICE officers have been notoriously conducting inhumane practices and illegally detaining undocumented immigrants. If one has precarious immigration status, the last thing they want to see is the ICE badge. Hence the badge is an object of fear and oppression. It’s the symbol of an institution that renders the undocumented community powerless. My starting point in this project, was to honor the resilience of the undocumented community instead of emphasizing their victimhood and despair. The ICE Lick is an object of protest that is a lollipop in the shape of an ICE badge. This candy is flavored with quintessential Mexican spices: cumin, chili pepper, and lime and made specifically for undocumented friends to enjoy. Every lick takes away from the potency of ICE’s authority. Every lick reverses the power relation between the institution of fear and its targets. The very same symbol of oppression turns into an object of protest. Viewers are invited to join the protest by taking a piece of flavored candy.
How can art catalyze change?:
Art can act as a storyteller, raise awareness and start a conversation around issues that we face. Therefore, art practice can spread the discussion and allow different perspectives to be part of the change.