When We First Arrived…

When We First Arrived…


Kay Rosen, Tent, 2019. Acrylic gouache on paper, 14 x 11 inches.*


January 23, 2020
When We First Arrived…
A call to action and exhibition in solidarity with the detained and separated children at the US—Mexico Border
January 25–March 29, 2020
Opening: January 25, 6–8pm
Still our children are being detained…: February 1, 2–6pm, public program with legal, medical/mental health experts and activists on immigration and Flores
A queer question? (The separated/detained children): March 28, 2–6pm, discussion on Flores and immigration from an LGBTQ perspective
The Corner at Whitman-Walker
1701 14th Street NW
Washington, D.C., 20009
Twitter / Instagram

As of today, nearly 7,000 children seeking asylum are being detained by the US federal government after crossing the US–Mexico border. Minimum standards of care, as defined in the 1997 Flores Settlement, are not being met. In many cases, lengths of detention exceed the legal limit. This is a humanitarian and public policy crisis that warrants much greater community awareness and discourse.

The Corner at Whitman-Walker, a new cultural center in Washington, D.C. for art and LGBTQ communities, explores the human experiences of intersectionality, inequality, and social injustice through artistic expression. Given the urgency of this ongoing crisis, The Corner is staging a unique exhibition in advance of its formal opening later this spring.

As The Corner’s new executive director Ruth Noack explains: “It is our moral and ethical imperative to give an artistic platform to the accounts of detained children, as collected by lawyers and medical and mental health experts. We do this in a form befitting a cultural institution seeking to engage and educate community.”

Curated by Noack, the exhibition When We First Arrived…, will open on Saturday, January 25, 2020 and showcase over 100 works of art by leading visual artists, responding directly to the testimonies from children gathered by Flores investigators. It is organized in close collaboration with DYKWTCA (Do you know where the children are?), an initiative by artists, Mary Ellen Carroll and Lucas Michael, who invited artists to produce works with the Flores accounts that are part of the broader public awareness initiative, Project Amplify. The sale and works of art will benefit Safe Passage ProjectTerra Firma, Innovation Law Lab, and Team Brownsville. The works of art and accounts will be registered with Artory and the Winston Art Group. Continues Noack: “DYKWTCA remains at the heart of this initiative and we are very proud to be in partnership with them, by opening our doors before we officially launch The Corner at Whitman-Walker and lending our own vision, creativity and resources to creating a public platform for the children’s—and the artists’—voices to be heard.”

Public programs will include a panel on the Flores regulations with leading immigration, medical and mental health experts and activists (February 1) and a panel on similar issues from LGBTQ perspectives (March 28). Full program details are available via The Corner and DYKWTCA.

Participating arists:
Cande Aguilar, Ricci Albenda, Bill Allen, Marina Ancona, Carolina Antich, Catalina Antonia Granados, Polly Apfelbaum, Michele Asselin and Glenda Carpio, Davide Balula, Walead Beshty, Paige K. B., Eric Brown, Robert Buck, Dietmar Busse, Ambreen Butt, Mary Ellen Carroll, York Chang, Mel Chin, David Colman, Beatriz Cortez, Tony Cox, Jessica Craig-Martin, Anna Daučíková, Shezad Dawood, Lorenzo De Los Angeles, Beto De Volder and Leon Villagran, Anne Delaney, Alyssa De Luccia, Liz Deschenes, Vikram Divecha, Cirilo Domine, Trisha Donnelly, Joanne Dugan, The Dufala Brothers—Billy Dufala and Steven Dufala, Jack Early, EIDIA House (Paul Lamarre and Melissa P. Wolf), Manuel Esnoz, Rochelle Feinstein, Patricia Fernández, Avram Finkelstein, Jean Foos, Eve Fowler, Ivan Gaete, Molly Gochman, Camilo Godoy, Terence Gower, Dan Graham, John Hanning, Graciela Hasper, Karolyn Hatton, Dana Hoey, Ashley Hunt, Samuel Jablon, Jesse Presley Jones, Rhea Karam, David Kelley, Maria Kent and Erin Leland, Jon Kessler, Elisabeth Kley, Alice Könitz, Josh Lehrer, Cary Leibowitz, Simon Leung, Siobhan Liddell, Matt Lipps, Tod Lippy, Mary Lum, Eva Lundsager, Brian Maguire, Yeni Mao, Jessica Mein, Julie Mehretu, Lucas Michael, Wardell Milan, Katrina Moorhead, Carlos Motta, Jason Murphy, Antony Nagelmann, Kambui Olujimi, Jeanine Oleson, Anneé Olofsson, Ruby Osorio, Spencer Ostrander, Arthur Ou, Paul Pfeiffer, Pope.L, Gala Porras-Kim, Liliana Porter, Luiza Prado de O. Martins, Barbara Probst, Rob Pruitt, Kim Pterodactyl, Adam Putnam, Michael Rakowitz, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Ugo Rondinone, Kay Rosen, Alejandra Seeber, Alexandro Segade, Kang Seung Lee, Anna Sew Hoy, Amy Sillman, Laurie Simmons, Xaviera Simmons, Pamela Sneed, A.L. Steiner, Berend Strik, Lisa Tan and Johnny Chang, Steed Taylor, Ana Tiscornia, Lincoln Tobier, Julie Tolentino, Fred Tomaselli, Boris Torres, Marguerite Van Cook, Rafael Viñoly, Lawrence Weiner, Judi Werthein, Barbara Westermann, Summer Wheat, Bob Witz


*Page 77, 78—7 year old girl, “bigger” aunt and aunt’s female cousin, El Salvador, June 20, 2019 

“From there they took me to a tent where it was very cold, and there were no blankets. My aunt, her cousin, and I slept on the ground in the tent. We spent the night there. I woke up in the very early morning. It was still dark outside. I was scared because my aunt was not there next to me anymore. My aunt’s cousin told me that she wasn’t there anymore because she was pregnant and the baby was on the way. I started to cry. Someone called my name about an hour later, and they took me to where my aunt was. She was sitting in a normal chair and was not connected to anything. I was very, very scared, but it was a relief to see her.”

RSVP for When We First Arrived…
January 23, 2020

Thank you for your RSVP.

DYKWTCA will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.