For my creative expression, I chose to go the creative route. Painting has always been an important part of my life and I love the idea of being able to portray messages to art. This piece is inspired by my family and what they did to come America. I discussed with them the idea of wanting to make something that provokes emotion and power. When talking to them, I asked them questions about why they came to America and what was the experience like. One of my aunts described to me that coming to America felt like moving mountains and crossing an ocean to find happiness and tranquility.

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The painting displays a mother and her two children looking out into the mountains and the ocean to see all the things they hope America can bring to them. It also displays different things that other individuals mentioned was the reason they came to the United States. I wanted to include children in this painting because the reality is there are so many children who come to America at a young age. Many of my friends described not really knowing what was happening but they knew they had to follow their parent(s) wherever they went. As I attended La Raza’s graduation ceremony here at UNT, a student said in their speech, “Mom, remember when you crossed the border with two kids and three backpacks- we made it!” This was a very pivotal moment in the creative execution of the painting and it reassured me the direction I wanted to go towards.

This painting is meant to represent not the literal experience of coming to America. It is representing the level of difficulty and the sacrifices individuals will face in order to see a better future. Often times, the news evokes this negative image of immigrants but they fail to see the struggles to get to where they are at. I am so happy to see the final result of this painting and I hope it is one that can be emotional and relatable. As a child of immigrants, I know the power of my parents and I know the strength of their sacrifices. As I finish off my third year of undergrad, this painting reminds me that I owe it all to them for coming to America to allow me to have the education I have today.