“. . . half a dozen chimneys, tall as the tallest of buildings, touching the very sky — and leaping from them half a dozen columns of smoke, thick, oily, and black as night. It might have come from the center of the world, the smoke, where the fires of the ages still smoulder.”                  The Jungle, Upton Sinclair 1906

Artist Statement

This seems like a necessary book to read, but certainly not a pleasant book to read.  Reading it back in high school it seemed like a very important book that brought to national consciousness the plight of immigrant exploitation.  This creation of the Chicago meat packing plants that caught up the immigrants into a hopeless whirlpool seemed like a courageous expose of a situation that had since resolved.  However, reading this book once again, there are a multitude of situations similar to the world that Sinclair was writing about 100 years ago.  We haven’t changed all that much.  And even though present day Chicago – now celebrated for its sports teams and architecture –  may not look like this painting, many places still do.  The abuses of the immigrants, of the poorest part of the working class still remain. December 2014


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