asleep in america statement



The American Dream is sweet. It tastes like illusion and sweat. With one hand constantly reaching and the other one firmly working, living in a dream like state feels necessary. This free indulgence is passed down with each generation of culture. Materials collect until that dream begins to have a plastic aftertaste, protection becoming key. The immensity of perfection makes daily life a myth. Unable to distinguish between what is natural and what is artificial, reality distorts to the American Nightmare. Here, we kick and we scream, saccharine saliva dripping from our mouths, until we wake up.


Beniaris used this collection to reflect on her grandmother’s experience immigrating to the United States as a woman not much older than she was then. Upon the recent passing of her grandmother, Beniaris was inspired by the brave decision to start in a new country alone. Understanding what ‘America’ meant in the 1950s versus the perception of it in contemporary society led Beniaris to the theory of the disintegration of the American dream. Her grandmother sought out material goods, like a beautiful new suit on a fresh hanger, in a land of economic opportunity. Her mother wore her house with pride, down to the plastic that protected her furniture. Beniaris saw the effects of this dreamy attitude in a world confused by fact and fiction. The American Dream's fortunate collapse is now on the backs of a younger generation that has an opportunity to change the term altogether.