Artist creates bold statement about immigration separations

Loren Costantini feels that the disturbing artwork in front of his law office on Cherry Street may be his best work, and his worst.

A lawyer, builder and an artist, Costantini erected the sculpture recently as a message to the country to pay attention to what he says is “a horrible crisis situation” in society today, especially the separation of immigrant children from their parents.

His creation, quite different from the giant flower statues he has placed in front of the building in the past, features headless child mannequins wrapped in barbed wire, underneath an upside-down flag, with the number “711” attached to the artwork, like a price tag.

The flag, he said, is a sign of an upside-down world.

“It’s not a good society, and people need to start being accountable,” Costantini said. “We are in a horrible crisis situation.”

The children, represented in the piece with mannequins he got from the Gap store when it was closing, represent “the faceless children” being held away from their parents, and the number “711” is the reported number of children who still remain separated from their families.

“Very simply these are nameless children trapped in camps as hostages,” Costantini said.

He said this artwork isn’t about politics: It isn’t Republican vs Democrats. He said his art is a message about humanity.

“I’m making a pretty bold statement,” he said. “And I’m not proud of this piece. It’s not one of my best pieces.”

But it delivers the message, he said.

Costantini said he believes artists, educators, everyone should speak up and challenge what they see as wrong in the country. That, he said, is what democracy is all about.

In a posting on his website, he writes, “Separating children from their families, failing to keep track of who they belong to and drugging them while in confinement stands in defiance to basic human rights. Quite simply, it is the torture of children in America. This is a humanitarian crisis created by us in our nation. This piece is a call to everyone to educate yourself, speak out and vote from the heart, not political affiliation.”