Erin Antognoli

Antognoli_ Erin.jpg

My panel portrays my mother's mother's passport photo in prep for her journey in 1939 to the United States from Cuba, where her family had been living for about 10 years. She is Lebanese, but Lebanon was occupied by the French at that time so the passport is all in French and her name is spelled 3 different ways in that single passport alone. She was also 30 at the time, which was rather old for a woman to be single in that day and age. She and her sisters all had arranged marriages within that same year and all moved to the states. Her parents and brother were trapped in Cuba after Castro took over and their only communication after that was through letters. The digital corruption in the photo is my name inserted over and over into the photo's code. By going back and trying to piece together the story of my grandmother who I loved as a child but am even more fascinated with as an adult, I am thinking of the right questions to ask now that it is too late to find answers. My husband can trace his family tree back to before the United States was the United States, but I can't go back much farther than her. So a broken image seemed appropriate here. Also to note: she spoke very poor English, but it was her 4th language after Arabic, French, and Spanish. A lot of people in this political climate would have judged her as not worthy to be here based on her heritage and accent, which makes me sad. But she eventually became a citizen, voted in every election, made the best Syrian bread ever, and loved professional wrestling. And now I am here. THIS is America!