Moral Turpiture

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Roxana Allison

Notes from the author:

"One summer evening in 2019 Roxana, in the UK, receives a text message from a friend in the USA she has not spoken to in over 15 years, urgently asking about her brother’s location and safety. 

The message sets the preamble to Pablo and Roxana’s second chapter of incarceration, on this occasion at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the USA, a shared experience of confusion where the missing link is two words enclosing an unclear meaning but a severe consequence. In this case, a mere excuse to deny freedom of passage, perhaps attached to freedom of speech, but in most cases to deny someone the freedom of attaining their particular version of the American Dream

After travelling for almost two months by freight trains from Mexico City to the USA border and further north from California up to the Canadian border, British-Mexican artist Pablo Allison is refused entry by immigration officers and subsequently transferred to the US Border Patrol who detain him, interrogate him and determine his immediate fate.

Initially planned as a journey to continue his long-term project of documenting the exodus from South to North, the story takes an unexpected turn resulting in a reverberation of a previous episode of imprisonment interlaced with the vital role of family and friends who invisibly contribute towards Pablo’s release.

Brother and sister conceived this book remotely as the layers developed, each one from their own geography and side of the story. Moral Turpitude (2019-2021) is not a coincidence, but a result - a sequel – derived from their first book, Operation Jurassic (2010-2018), which documents Pablo’s and consequently Roxana’s first encounter, in the UK, with the criminal justice system.

In tune with Operation Jurassic, using drawings, legal paperwork, personal documents, photographs and words, Moral Turpitude portrays an experience common to thousands of Latin American migrants. The personal testimony attempts to offer a window into the complex and multi-layered collective experience of migration to the USA and the vital role that family and support networks play in someone's release."

 - Roxana and Pablo Allison, 2021