Rest Ashore is a new large scale multi-channel video installation by LatinX multi-disciplinary artist Juana Valdes. Rest Ashore reexamines the Cuban migration experience over the past sixty years and how it relates to the current global refugee crisis. The installation explores similarities in how the refugee crisis has been documented and disseminated in mass media throughout the years, both past and present, while creating a new visual vernacular honoring those who died at sea in their travels. Rest Ashore marks Valdes’s first significant expansion into video and a dramatic shift in her artistic process.
While this project differs significantly from Valdes’s past work, it continues her thematic explorations of the sea, ocean, rivers, and “bodies of water”, which have always played a significant role in her practice and shifted the way in which she perceives and reimagines the Caribbean.
Using the Cuban-American rafters “Balseros” experience as a starting point and reflecting upon past and current migration by sea, Rest Ashore aims to address the current refugee crisis worldwide, remembering and recognizing those refugees who died at sea in their journeys. The project pushes past the conventional beliefs of what it means to be a refugee and questions how these experiences are chronicled in the media and recorded in our memories.