smith and spindle
kira ariel smith

portriats of my immigrant family

Portraits of my

immigrant family

Starting soon!

This series is near and dear to my heart… As a grandchild of immigrants, I have heard stories and seen first hand how immigrants are treated in ‘merica. My paternal grandfather came here when he was 19 from Germany, he changed his named from Gunther to William in order to help assimilate. He still gets angry with me when I call him Gunther. I have also been lucky enough to know my maternal great grandparents, who came here from Cuba and Lebanon, bringing my grandmother here when she was just 13. And let me tell you my grandmother is one boss ass lady, a force to be reckoned with.

I have been raised in all of these different cultures. I have little pieces of me from all of these places that would tear me apart if one was removed. I consider myself a mutt - a fucking proud one at that. I am proud of who I am, my family cultures, and where I grew up. I should be. I will always carry with me- the stories, the events, all valuable life lessons that make me, me - a proud multicultural, American.

I’m going to be totally honest here: ‘merica is a shit country when it comes to how it has and continues to treat human beings. Its track record speaks for itself... it all started with the horrific acts against native people, continued with slavery, Japanese internment camps, immigration in general, ripping children away from their parents at the border with no plan on how to reunite them and countless others.

The thing I can’t wrap my head around is that we can’t seem to properly acknowledge these acts of inhumanity, learn from them and do something to make sure it never happens again. If you think it's okay to remove innocent children from their parents, causing them irreversible damage - there is something seriously wrong with you. "Our immigration system is broken" is not and excuse - we are all aware of this issue. Try voting in people who are smart, actually do their jobs and not aren't corrupt on every front instead of abusing, defenseless children, you sick fuck. And yes, I vote. Every chance I get. I do research and vote. I have voted both Democrat and Republican - because I vote with knowledge - not because of some party/person loyalty. 

This administration (and the people who support it) don’t understand that caring and having a heart isn’t weakness. It is having morals, standards and being educated. Being strong isn’t about being an unfeeling, compass-less robot - it’s about acknowledging problems, having empathy and coming together with an open mind and heart to fix things.

For this project I want to bring forward immigrants worldwide, legal or not. Real people, who have heartbeats and stories. They are part of our society, they have friends and families and also happen to be immigrants. They might have been here for years or maybe just a week but they are part of the real life melting pot that 'merica loves to highlight but refuses to do right by. They are you, they are part of me - we are all connected, we are all humans. 

This issue is not exclusive to 'merica. Participants from anywhere in the world are welcome!

You can follow this project here and on my Instagram @smithandspindle under #portraitsofmyimmigrantfamily

Merta, Cuba to USA at aged 13

Merta, Cuba to USA at aged 13

want to participate? accepting submissions!

All pictures will say "I ***your statement here*** and I am an immigrant". You can submit your statement and a photo (make sure is yours to submit) to be drawn via email. If you would like to submit a photo of or for someone else, please be sure to have their permission: 

I understand that staying anonymous may be important. I will not share any information that I receive except for the statement and my drawing. E-mails and photos will be deleted once the drawing is complete.