8 x 24 inches
Archival pigment print
Open edition, available only through December 10, 2023
Signed and dated by the artist
Ross McDonnell is a filmmaker and photographer born in Dublin, Ireland. Ross’ early experience of travel and his love of cinema sparked a fascination with image making and storytelling. His work reflects his interest in the open-ended nature of non-fiction and the tensions, inherent in the photographic process, between transience and permanence. He has witnessed firsthand the complex tapestry of migration and its profound impact on individuals as it compares and contrasts to his own experience as an Irish immigrant living in the US.
DREAM channels the historical legacy of Irish immigrants who worked on the Transcontinental Railroad, serving to highlight the interconnectedness of both the artists’ past and present migratory experiences and those of his ancestors. The photograph was taken in 2019 while the artist was living in Mexico and working with Honduran migrants traveling to the US on La Bestiawhich translates to The Beast - a series of fast-moving freight cars that are so dangerous, they are known as death trains to the migrants who risk their lives in search of a better life. Featuring a migrant traveler laying atop La Bestia with DREAM in orange text in stark opposition to the lush green jungle that surrounds the seemingly meditative but extremely dangerous scene pictured. An immigrant himself, McDonnell reflects on the difference between his own journey to America and that of his ancestors and other migrants today who endure perilous journeys and risk their lives to seek refuge in the United States.
This signed fine art print is based off of the billboard that McDonnell created as a part of Silkroad’s American Railroad tour. Using a visual vernacular to tell stories of the fraught legacy of American Imperialism and the quiet histories of those who toiled to build this country, this initiative illuminates the impact the African American, Chinese, Indigenous, Irish, and other immigrant communities had on the creation of the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad and connecting railways in North America. Exploring the dissemination of cultures across the United States, the railroad was to North America what the Silk Road was to China, the Far East, and Europe. McDonnell’s billboard along with the three other For Freedoms x Silkroad Billboards will be on display in Los Angeles from October 30 – December 10, 2023.
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