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Wellesley College museum removes artwork created by immigrants in protest against refugee ban

'We have removed or cloaked these works to demonstrate symbolically what the Davis Museum would look like without their contributions to our collections and to Wellesley College, and to thereby honour their many valuable gifts'

Roisin O'Connor
Saturday 18 February 2017 14:29 GMT
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The Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts has removed all of its work created or donated by immigrants that is currently on display.

In a move that is set to last through President's Day weekend, curators will instead drape black cloth over display cases and line the walls with labels that read: "Created by an immigrant."

The initiative is being called "Art-less" and is intended to make a statement about the impact immigrants have on America.

"We have removed or cloaked these works to demonstrate symbolically what the Davis Museum would look like without their contributions to our collections and to Wellesley College, and to thereby honour their many valuable gifts," the museum said in a statement.

One of the main works missing is a portrait of George Washington created by Adolf Ulrik Wertmuller, an immigrant who came to the US in the 1970s.

The painting was also donated to the Davis Museum by an immigrant family. The David Museum reports that approximately 20 per cent of its works were made by immigrants.

The strong statement was prompted after the furore over US President Donald Trump's three month immigration order.

Director of the Davis told blouinartinfo.com: "We wanted to respond to the situation of anxiety and concern raised by the immigration ban.

"We decided that an intervention in the galleries would be the best way to go because we have recently done a lot of research into not only specific objects within the collection, but also the donors who created the collection here over the years.

"We were able to kind of parse the works in terms of immigrant artists and immigrant collections. It turned out to be about 20 per cent of everything we have on view, which was astonishing."

Trump has promised a new order after a three-judge panel on the Ninth Cicuit of the Justice Department refused to lift a federal judge's temporary restraining order on his ban, which prevented foreign nationals from Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days.

Jimmy Fallon impersonates Donald Trump to mock press conference

It also barred refugees from those countries for 120 days, and all refugees from Syria indefinitely.

On Friday a leaked memo drafted by Department of Homeland Security secretary John Kelly reportedly proposed using 100,000 National Guard troops to "round up" undocumented immigrants.

While the acting press secretary for the DHS told The Independent that the Department was "not considering mobilising the National Guard", it was not disputed that the memo had been drafted by Kelly.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called the report "despicable" and "unAmerican".

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