Reaching for the Stars, micron pen on illustration board, 10" x 8", 2021
American Dream, photograph, 10" x 8", 2021

Artist’s Note

For so many people, America represents a place of new beginnings and new opportunities. That’s why in 2007, my family traveled over 8,000 miles to America from our hometown of Kerala, India. Like so many immigrants, we came to America in the search of better education, better job opportunities, and a better life for me and my brother. My parents had to work tirelessly to build themselves a home. Yet through this struggle, we've built ourselves not only a home but a life: a life that, in all likelihood, we could not have replicated or enjoyed back in India.

In my artwork, I sought to capture this search for the American Dream that many immigrants and minority communities hope for but often struggle to achieve. Still, their determination to provide a better life for themselves, for their families, and for future generations is unflinching, even in the face of tribulation. Whether from India like my family, whether from Afghanistan like thousands of our newest neighbors, or whether from across the Mexican border, those who seek to call America "home" should be welcomed with hands as open as theirs that—like the photo—are reaching out.