Crying in the Wilderness: An Immigrant’s Journey in Detention

In 2018, an African man, “Antony” (an pseudonym for his protection), sought protection from death threats and violence in his warring country. He asked for asylum at our southern border, a legal request under U.S. immigration law. However, he was inexplicably shackled, chained, and jailed for two years.

In 2020, with spread of Covid in the jail, immigration authorities had to release Antony. He was moved to a private home in New Hampshire’s Seacoast, yet still denied free movement and tracked through a painful and ever-present ankle monitor.

It was then that NH photographer Becky Field met Antony. For the next year, she photographed his life under the severe limitations of his movement and the emotional toll of the humiliating and aggravating ankle monitor.

The resulting photo exhibit, Crying in the Wilderness: An Immigrant’s Journey in Detention, is unusual. Ten large black-and-white photographs are printed on canvas and suspended within a freestanding black frame with black cord, symbolizing the bondage of detention. Each photo is accompanied with poetry written by Antony about his difficult journey.