The Immigrant’s Dream

The Immigrant’s Dream: The American Response by Malaquias Montoya was hanging in the National Museum of Mexican Art in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago when I snapped the above photo in 2014. This was before things really went downhill in the U.S. of A, but Montoya’s acrylic painting is just as timely now as it was when Montoya painted it in 2003.

Montoya’s painting captures the sad state of politics in general and immigration in particular.

Inspired by Montoya’s painting, I wrote the following ekphrastic poem.


The fabric of America has been ripped apart.
It has been laid bare by twisted politics and warped ideals.
No more freedom and justice for all.
Red, white, and blue aren’t for you, dear dreamer.
You risk being swallowed up, suffocated and discarded.
Welcome to the swamp.
The dream has become a nightmare. An uncertainty.
Unchecked hatred has been given the freedom that should be yours.
We bear witness to the ugly side of humanity.

– by Trey Treeful

Montoya gives voice to those who deserve to be heard. The painting and the artist say it better than I ever could.

What better function for art at this time? A voice for the voiceless. My personal views on art and society were formed by my being born into that silent and voiceless humanity. Realizing later that it was not by choice that we remained mute but by a conscious effort on the part of those in power, I realized that my art could only be that of protest – a protest against what I felt to be a death sentence.                                                                                                                                                          – Malaquias Montoya