We the People, 2018


Banner Art: "We the People" (detail, words), Mixed-media, 2019, with Boston International Newcomers Academy High School (BINcA)

"We the People" (installation view), Mixed-media, 2019
"We the People" (installation view), Mixed-media, 2019

Host Program:
Boston International Newcomers Academy High School (BINcA)

Media: Mixed media

Artist/Educator: James Hobin

BU Wheelock Student Liaison:
Alishia Morales

Youth Artists:
Victor T., Angel A., Rodriqueson, Augusto, Carlos, Michael, Marilyn and others

Age Range:  15-18

Artist Statement

The spirit of Ubuntu rests on the foundational statement of “I am because you are.” We wouldn’t be who we are without the communities we live in, the schools we learn in and the people we talk to everyday. There is an interconnectedness between all living beings and we must abide by the responsibility to watch over each other and ensure each other’s well-being. Our piece emphasizes the idea that “What hurts you, hurts me, and what heals you, heals me,” in a society where we all have the right to freedom yet, not all of us are free.

Most students at BINcA have recently immigrated to the US from many different countries and are first generation students in the American school system. They are learning about different opportunities this new country has to offer them while navigating a system that treats many people differently. Most of them read the Constitution for the first time and got an idea of the rights citizens have in the US. They use this “book of rights” to symbolize the power dynamics they observe while on their quest for “freedom” and the “American Dream.”

“We the People” in the Constitution can be thought of as an Ubuntu statement as students dissected the hidden meanings behind the words they read. Each illustration was drawn over printed pages of the Constitution and a few students chose to make shapes out of the words or circle them to emphasize the unique statements they wanted to make.

Image Gallery