Manhattan, KS— In solidarity with Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s war with their country, the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University is featuring artwork by an artist who himself was displaced as a young child.
“Fishers of Men” by artist Fidencio Fifield-Perez is a large circular form made of netting, bits of nautical maps and acrylic paint behind an overlay of Tyvek mesh. This striking work represented Fifield-Perez in the exhibition “Fronteras/Frontiers” at the Beach Museum in 2017 and, according to museum staff, caused some visitors to comment that it resembled a view of Earth from distant space.
“‘Fishers of Men’ reminds us particularly of those who have braved perilous water crossings, often pursued like criminals and denied access to a safe haven,” Beach Museum director Linda Duke said. “The museum has once more put ‘Fishers of Men’ on view. Its message of empathy and compassion crosses frontiers.”
Fifield-Perez was smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border as a young child. He grew up with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status. In his work as an artist, he has frequently evoked the misery of immigrants and refugees.
“The recent invasion of Ukraine has transformed millions of ordinary people into desperate refugees,” Duke said. “Whether by land or water, many of them are children and their journeys are dangerous.”
For the 2017 exhibition, Fifield-Perez requested that excerpts from the poem “Home” by British-Somali poet Warsan Shire be placed on labels for his artworks. The excerpt that accompanies “Fishers of Men” offers these lines:
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you have to understand,
no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
The Beach Museum of Art, 701 Beach Lane, is on the southeast corner of the K-State campus. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Free parking is available adjacent to the building. To catch a livestream event or view exhibitions online, go to beach.k-state.edu, or watch videos of the museum’s special programs and events on its YouTube channel, beach.k-state.edu/videos. For calendar of events in the Art in Motion annual program series visit beach.k-state.edu/calendar.