If a survey were conducted across America where people were asked to describe their idea of what “the average American” looks like, results would likely vary. Many people would describe themselves. However, this country has never looked like one kind of people.
To truly depict that, street artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh took the opportunity to mount a piece of art in Oklahoma City as a constant reminder of what America truly looks like in 2016.
The art reads as follows: “America is black. It is Native. It wears a hijab. It is a Spanish speaking tongue. It is migrant. It is a woman. It is here. Has been here. And it’s not going anywhere.”
It also includes profiles of multiple people of color, including those from communities that have been attacked in recent months following the election and the blatantly racist, sexist and xenophobic rhetoric it’s produced.
“This piece was done specifically to challenge whiteness and the accepted idea of who an American is,” Fazlalizadeh wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “This work is located in Oklahoma, a very red, Republican state. The site of this piece is just as important to its intent. This work is declaring that people who are non-white and male are a part of this country, are integral to this country, and are not going anywhere.”
While the artwork is surely beautiful and deserves to be immortalized, the truth is that it’s currently in a very accessible location in a very Republican state. There is a strong possibility that it won’t remain as pristine as it should be for long.
In the mean time, celebrate this as a moment of victory and a reminder that each American experience is as valid as the next.
Photo Credit: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh