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Work Won't Kill You: I Exist addresses involuntary child immigrants who qualified for a path to citizenship through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). For this project, Ortiz hired eight DACA recipients to collaborate in constructing a performance/ installation to confront the crisis of citizenship facing DACA recipients and their families. The artwork featured thirteen hundred potted plants installed along a tree lined grotto above the San Antonio River on a plaza during the Luminaria Art Festival. Each plant signified an individual and the precarity of living under these stressful conditions. In the background of the site, a large video projection begins with abstracted images of flowers and plants overlayed with voices from the eight DACA recipients. As they tell their story a hand unceremoniously uproots a plant, soil flings and the survival of the plant is put into question. In the performance workers tend the installed plants and move quietly among the shadows gifting plants to some of the over four thousand viewers.
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