MICHIGAN: The Great Divide

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Mixed media on paper
26 x 40 inches

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MICHIGAN: The Great Divide
Mixed media on paper
26 x 40 inches
© Denise Weaver Ross
 
Surrounded by the Great Lakes of Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie, Michigan is often called the Great Lakes State. It illustrates many of the divisions in our country. I refer to its industrial glory years as the global center of car manufacturer by including references to one of Diego Rivera’s Detroit murals in the background. This past was also instrumental in the great migration of blacks from the south to the upper Midwest, and the raise of trade unions. It also led to the environmental problems and environmental racism typified by Flint’s polluted water problem. The decline of this industrial powerhouse also has led to feelings of disenfranchisement by working class whites which in turn has been exploited by far right organizations protesting everything from gun rights to the mask wearing during the pandemic. All are divisions that have been exploited for political gain and have brought our country to this dysfunctional moment. I also included the Mackinac Bridge, longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. It unites the Michigan’s upper peninsula with the rest of the state and is included as a symbol of hope for someday bridging our racial, cultural and political divides as well.