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Coming To America

Coming To America by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram, 8.5" x 5" x 1.25" Handmade Book, 2020


Ellis Island Grand Hall photo (colorized) , ancestor photo, mixed media, collage, point de gaze lace

(Click on the middle of the image to view in full screen mode for the best view)

This handmade book features a historical photo of the Grand Hall at Ellis Island. This is the place where immigrants, fresh off the boat from which they made their arduous journey, would face a series of inspections which would determine their fate. Some were detained, some were brought to the state of the art Ellis Island hospital to recover. Most got a stamp of approval to enter the US to begin their lives in America. Others still, having been deemed unsuitable to enter for a myriad of reasons, were rejected and had to return to their native countries.

What did the "American Dream" mean to those people?  I often find myself thinking what does "Red, White and Blue" mean to me as a natural born citizen of the United States. That is why the pages in this book (with the colors spelled out) do not correspond to the words they typically represent.

Also, interesting to note, the second page is a reproduction of the menu from the Ellis Island food hall where countless  detained immigrants dined while awaiting their fate. One of my Great Aunts stands before an American flag.


A few of these pages in this book are collages of The US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and a ship's manifest highlighting some of the many questions the immigrants had to answer before boarding the ship in their homeland.

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