Copyright 2017 by Gutfreund Cornett Art. The book author and each artist here retains sole copyright to their contributions to this book. This catalog is documentation of Beyond Borders: Stories of im/Migration, an exhibition created by Gutfreund Cornett Art, www.GutfreundCornettArt.com, and shown at Santa Clara University Art Gallery, January 8â€”April 6, 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means without prior permission in writing from Gutfreund Cornett Art.
Catalog designed and edited by Gutfreund Cornett Art Cover Design by: Rozanne Hermelyn, Arc and Line Communication and Design. www.arcandline.com 2
4 ABOUT Santa Clara University 6 ABOUT Gutfreund Cornett Art 7
Beyond Borders: Stories of im/Migration
Anosognosia and the Asymptote Sherri Cornett 13
Presented by Gutfreund Cornett Art at Santa Clara University Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building Gallery January 8â€”April 6, 2018
Where do you come from? Karen Gutfreund 22 Artists 81 Thanks!
The Art and Art History Department Gallery exhibits art work from a diverse group of established and emerging artists. It provides the department, University and the community opportunities for direct involvement and exchange with the visual arts, while cultivating an environment that nurtures creativity and intellectual growth. Goals: • • • • •
Support the pedagogy of the Department of Art and Art History and the education of Santa Clara students with high quality exhibitions that inform and deepen the curriculum taught in the Department. Develop meaningful interactions between artists, students, and community audiences through lectures, educational opportunities, and experiences driven by arts professionals. Exhibit artworks manifesting a range of concepts, styles, media, and a diversity of artists (gender, race, perspectives) whose work informs, inspires, and challenges our students, the University, and the community to see the world anew. Create exhibition and curatorial opportunities for students, faculty, and arts community professionals. Serve as a dynamic teaching and learning resource for faculty, students and the community as well as an important arts destination in the Bay Area.
Mission The University pursues its vision by creating an academic community that educates the whole person within the Jesuit, Catholic tradition, making student learning our central focus, continuously improving our curriculum and co-curriculum, strengthening our scholarship and creative work, and serving the communities of which we are a part in Silicon Valley and around the world. Vision Santa Clara University will educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion and cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world. 4
Fundamental Values The University is committed to these core values, which guide us in carrying out our mission and realizing our vision: Academic Excellence We seek an uncompromising standard of excellence in teaching, learning, creativity, and scholarship within and across disciplines. Search for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty We prize scholarship and creative work that advance human understanding, improve teaching and learning, and add to the betterment of society by illuminating the most significant problems of the day and exploring the enduring mysteries of life. In this search, our commitment to academic freedom is unwavering. Engaged Learning We strive to integrate academic reflection and direct experience in the classroom and the community, especially to understand and improve the lives of those with the least education, power, and wealth. Commitment to Students As teachers and scholars, mentors and facilitators, we endeavor to educate the whole person. We nurture and challenge studentsâ€”intellectually, spiritually, aesthetically, morally, socially, and physicallyâ€”preparing them for leadership and service to the common good in their professional, civic, and personal lives.
Service to Others We promote throughout the University a culture of serviceâ€”service not only to those who study and work at Santa Clara but also to society in general and to its most disadvantaged members as we work with and for others to build a more humane, just, faith-filled, and sustainable world. Community and Diversity We cherish our diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni, a community that is enriched by people of different backgrounds, respectful of the dignity of all its members, enlivened by open communication, and caring and just toward others. Jesuit Distinctiveness We treasure our Jesuit heritage and tradition, which incorporates all of these core values. This tradition gives expression to our Jesuit educational mission and Catholic identity while also welcoming and respecting other religious and philosophical traditions, promoting the dialogue between faith and culture, and valuing opportunities to deepen religious beliefs.
As an independent curatorial partnership, Gutfreund Cornett Art specializes in creating exhibitions on themes of “art as activism” to stimulate dialog, raise consciousness and encourage social change. With backgrounds in national and international projects, advocacy, non-profits, government, corporate art and a successful history in DIY Blockbuster shows on feminist issues, Gutfreund and Cornett have combined these skills to provide unique opportunities for artists, communities and relevant non-profit collaborators to come together around social and environmental themes. GCA, Karen Gutfreund and Sherri Cornett, are Curator/Exhibition Directors, Arts Administrators and practicing artists. Gutfreund has worked in the Painting & Sculpture Department for MoMA, the Andre Emmerick Gallery, The Knoll Group, the John Berggruen Gallery, Arc Gallery and the Pacific Art League. With degrees in Fine Arts and Art History, she is a consultant to galleries and for private and corporate collections. Over the past ten years, Gutfreund has focused on creating exhibitions for women artists that travel around the country having created 30+ national exhibitions to date. Sherri Cornett, with degrees in political science and art, has a long history of advocacy, activism and campaign work around issues of human rights, women's rights, environment, education and the arts, and in board leadership. She focuses on socially-engaged projects in her own art and the projects she directs. Cornett has created international exhibition opportunities for women artists as Director of the Women's Caucus for Art's Half the Sky: Intersections in Social Practice Art, an art-based cultural exchange in China, and as Co-Director of Women + Body, an exhibition in South Korea. She has also represented the non-profit and NGO Women's Caucus for Art at United Nations conferences. Exhibitions to date include: Visaural: Sight, Sound and Action (2015, Nave Gallery, Sommerville, Massachusetts) asked artists to combine activist-themed visual art and QR Code-accessible songs in tandem with the Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands. With What’s Right, What’s Left: Democracy in America (2016, Phoenix Gallery, NYC), artists looked at the tenets of democracy, the increasing polarization of our culture, freedom, privacy, civil rights, incarceration and intolerance. Teaming up with UniteWomen.org, Gutfreund Cornett Art created Vision: An Artist’s Perspective (2016, Kaleid Gallery, San Jose, California), which brought self-identified female artists into dialogue around solidarity, individuality, and a belief in political, economic and social equality for all. Social Justice: It Happens to One, It Happens to All (2016, Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art, Morago, California) illuminated the ongoing conversation about race, disparities in global wealth, power, education, shelter, access to food, immigration issues, criminal injustice, women’s right and identity. Future shows include topics of gender identity, environmental concerns, women’s rights and the culture of violence in the USA.
Anosognosia and the Asymptote The decree [the summary Executive Order of a Member State prohibiting migration from seven selected countries with Muslim majorities], which was arbitrarily and summarily enforced, is clearly in violation of several of the UN Conventions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion, nationality or race . . . It is an arbitrary, xenophobic, profoundly harmful act which in its disregard for promises, its violation of fundamental and dearly cherished human rights and humane values diminishes us all. It creates division, demonizes and stigmatizes as potential terrorist a particular group of people on the sole basis of their religion, ethnicity, and national origin. It sows fear, suspicion and instability everywhere. Maria Pia Belloni-Mignatti, Chair, UN NGO Committee on Migration1 How did we get here, where science, facts and truths are undermined? Where divisiveness and hate are escalating? How are our opinions and views of our world, and those with whom we disagree, created? Where do we go for reliable answers to our questions? How do we know what we know? What we don’t know? The United States was built on the foundation of intellectual freedom. The Fairness Doctrine of 1949, which was abolished in 1986, created an “honest, equitable and balanced” presentation of issues in broadcast news. As a result, accurate media content could help with the development of our personal viewpoints. With the advent of an Internet model that creates a proliferation of unsubstantiated facts, the devaluation of investigative journalism became a reality. With the negation of science, the standard of truth became destabilized, leading Stephen Colbert to coin the word “truthiness” If one feels it is true in one’s gut, it must be true, despite what “elitist” reference books might prove otherwise. 2 “Forbidden is any kind of search for truth that is not in conformance with accepted practices . . .” Andre Breton, The Surrealist Manifesto3 Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. Bernard Baruch January 6, 1950 issue of the Deming (New Mexico) Headlight In his five part series The Anosognosic’s Dilemma, author Errol Morris talked with author and professor of social psychology David Dunning about imperfection of insight. “What we see and what we hear” is shaped by our preferences, our wishes, our fears, our desires and so forth. We literally see the world the way we want to see it. But the Dunning-Kruger Effect [as coined by Dunning and his research partner Justin Kruger] suggests that there is a problem beyond that. Even if you are the most honest, impartial person that you could be, you would still have a problem – namely, when your knowledge or expertise is imperfect, you really don’t know it. Left to your own devices, you just don’t know it. We’re not very good at knowing what we don’t know.”4 Morris and Dunning go on to equate this phenomenon with anosognosia, which is a neurological term used to describe someone who has a disability, but does not know he or she is disabled. Applied to the broader world, there are things we know we do not know. For these, we can research and find answers, or we can deny that we do not know. We can choose to stop being curious and stop learning. We can create barriers around our beliefs while simultaneously ignoring those that do not agree with us. Robert Wright, in his article Why Can't We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality, calls this confirmation xx 7
bias. “Some of our deepest moral intuitions are gut feelings that are with us for no more lofty a reason than that they helped our ancestors protect themselves and spread their genes.”5 What happens when we do not know that we do not know; when we don’t know our inabilities, our disabilities, and/or our ignorance? Wright says, “self-doubt can be the first step to moral improvement.”6 When it comes to understanding something as emotionally, socially, morally, politically and legally complex as the issues surrounding migration, immigration, assimilation and deportation, self-doubt and curiosity are our first steps. No matter how much we aim to understand, we can never truly empathize or truly share the depth and breadth of someone’s experience. Each is unique and different. And these differences are fortified by beliefs stemming from influential and dominant social constructs which reinforce combativeness and superiority. “We are better than them.” “Our religious beliefs are more true.” “Our right to live in this country is more valid.” “Our race is more pure.” “Our history is more important.” “Our contributions are more meaningful.”
In our professional sports, athletic spirit reinforces this superiority, emasculates and dehumanizes the rivals as less than and increases aggression and protection of ‘us’ or ‘ours’. The creation of symbolic and real borders (sidelines, state lines, immigration filters) limits interaction and opportunities for finding commonalities. Asymptote, /ˈasɪm(p)təʊt/ A straight line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance. Mid 17th century: from modern Latin asymptota (linea) ‘(line) not meeting’, from Greek asumptōtos ‘not falling together’, from a- ‘not’ + sun ‘together’ + ptōtos ‘apt to fall’ (from piptein ‘to fall’)7 There is no Occam’s razor, no simplest theory or observation that explains the personal, multidimensional realities of migration, immigration, assimilation and deportation. We can start by asking the following questions: “What made you leave?” “How did you leave?” “What did you take with you?” “What it is like to be isolated from that which you had previously known?” “What do you fear?” “What happened when you arrived?” “What do you need to know to move forward?” “How do you protect yourself?” “What do you know? What do you not know?” “Do you know what you do not know? As with an asymptote, our aim and goal to fully understand will never quite reach nor comprehend the curve that makes up xxx 8
the full spectrum of individual experiences. In the absence of clarity, we act irrationally, unevenly, and sometimes inhumanely. We often fail to see the real world consequences or the effects on individuals, children, adolescents, adults and families. Breaking through Anosognosia Errol Morris also interviewed neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran, who, among many things, is known for his use of mirrorboxes in the treatment of phantom limb syndrome. The mirror image helps the patient’s brain reconcile the phantom pain with the visual of the missing limb, thus alleviating some of the discomfort. Ramachandran talked about layered belief, “that some part the brain can believe something and some other part of the brain can believe the opposite (or deny that belief)...We are overshadowed by a nimbus of ideas. There is our physical reality and then there is our conception of ourselves, our self.” 8 The concept of a luminous cloud or nimbus that surrounds us and creates magical thinking or fantastical beliefs is one example of the many ways we deceive ourselves. The mirror-box analogy is also applicable. As Dunning believes, “The road to selfinsight really runs through other people,”9 people holding mirrors up to our misperceptions. We need our media, academia, family and friends to give us that balanced, measured constructive criticism. Of course, one has to be open to such feedback and be willing to take a broader view. The consideration of the interests and concerns of others and knowing that the steps one takes or the decisions one makes may affect someone else’s welfare, comfort, happiness, health are important aspects to weigh as we reformulate our beliefs.
Myths and Realities The stream of untruths and images are repeated, though, until they are real for those who do not question or analyze their information sources. The importance of checking references or looking for the peer-reviewed academic and scientific studies cannot be overstated. Héctor Tobar calls this perpetuation, “immigration porn” and elaborates further with, “The humiliated and hunted people you see in coverage of the deported are not the whole person. Tenacity and stubbornness are the defining qualities of undocumented America. This is precisely what is absent in the media’s depiction of the more than 11 million people who live there.” 10 Top myths: Immigrants don’t want to learn English, will take jobs from U.S. citizens, are here illegally, don’t pay taxes, are terrorists. Refugees are not screened. Stronger borders and walls are needed to stop the increasing flow of immigrants into our country...11 Newscasters and reporters must do a better job of fleshing out the realities and bringing light to these myths using correct, accurate and precise language and terminology. They need to be aware of how terms can be easily politicized. Labels such as “illegal immigrant” only accentuate the myth of the relationship between immigrants and increasing crime rates. 12 #WordsMatter. Media correspondents need to keep their focus on laws that erode American ideals of democracy, social justice, empathy and responsibility. Our “unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” have their roots in concepts of empathy and responsibility. The curricula in our schools must emphasize our history and our legal background; particularly the rights granted in Amendment IV (the right to be secure in their persons, against unreasonable searches and seizures) and Amendment V (no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, xxxxx 9
without due process of law) It should also emphasize our country’s roots, the refugees and immigrants who built our country, and the “deficit of empathy” as indicated by President Obama. In 1882, Congress excluded Chinese immigrants from entering the U.S. Later it prohibited almost all Japanese immigrants. And still later it gave preference to immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, making it difficult for people from other parts of the world to immigrate to the U.S. But the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 changed all of that. It did away with the national origins quota and banned discrimination based on where a person was from. 13
Our complex system of immigration laws and practices, the inconsistencies between these across state lines, uneven asylum regulations depending on country of origin, and outright racial profiling, and unlawful detention, as epitomized by the action of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, increase an immigrant’s fear of registering, fear of raids, and fear of reporting crimes. They encourage immigrants to make themselves invisible and to hide, moving from place to place. They disrupt their lives and those of their children again and again to the point that some return to their countries. In fact, more Mexicans are currently leaving the United States than coming into it. 14 Arizona SB 1070, made it a crime to be present in Arizona without documentation; gave police the authority to conduct warrantless searches for immigration purposes; allowed police to transport non-citizens outside the jurisdiction of the local agency; required state and local law enforcement to investigate, detain, and arrest someone suspected of being undocumented; subjected law enforcement officers to lawsuits for failure to act; and made it a crime to transport an undocumented immigrant and a crime to attempt to hire a day laborer. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) evades laws and court decisions, including the 4 th Amendment, by requesting local law enforcement to “hold people who are suspected of being in the country illegally, even after they have posted bail, finished their jail sentence or otherwise resolved their criminal cases.”15
Mark Fleming, national litigation coordinator for the National Immigrant Justice Center, told [Frontline] that “the federal government pays private detention centers between $80 and $120 per detainee per day, though ‘costs are in the $30 range.”16 “Since Mr. Trump was inaugurated, ICE has issued roughly 11,000 detainers a month, a 78 percent increase over the previous year.”17 ICE is required by Congress to detain and deport 400,000 illegal immigrants per year. The agency’s funding depends on this level of action.18 “On any given day, about 40,000 people are in immigration detention.”19 “Despite the explosive growth in immigration detention in recent years, there are no regulations or enforceable standards regarding detention conditions, including medical treatment, mental health care, religious services, transfers, and access to xx 10
telephones, free legal services, and library materials. In fact, the vast majority of detainees never receive legal representation, which makes it more difficult not only to succeed in adversarial immigration proceedings, but also to complain about substandard treatment.” American Civil Liberties Union20
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) allowed approximately 800,000 immigrants to stay in the U.S., to work, to go to college with financial aid, to create lives here and be contributing members of our communities. 21 Many immigrant children, who have grown up in this country, learned English, may not even speak the language of their country of origin. They have assimilated to our culture and no longer have connections to their home countries. The “home” that people are being deported to is not a “home” at all. On a more humane front, a few cities, and California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia have declared themselves as sanctuaries. “Many restrict compliance with detainers, others prohibit local law enforcement from inquiring about subjects’ immigration status, and some restrict the use of local funding for immigration enforcement.”22 And, ICE is restricted, by its own policies, from detaining people in schools, hospitals, places of worship, funerals, weddings/other religions ceremonies, public demonstrations such as marches and rallies.23 Beyond Borders: Stories of im/Migration With this exhibition, we believe that sharing, viewing and hearing personal stories and connecting to the experiences of individuals can transform misperceptions. Our artists and their works portray how migration, immigration, assimilated and deportation has affected their lives and the lives of those they know. They answered the questions of how, why, what happened: Those left behind (Rolando Chicas, El Salvador), longing (Tessie Barrera-Scharaga, San Jose), memory and absence (Teraneh Hemami, San Francisco), escape (Carlos Cartagena), desperate measures (Julio Cesar Morales, Arizona), lives lost while migrating (Diane Kahlo, Kentucky), the remains of those who didn’t make it (Judith Quax, Netherlands), the human cost of immigration policies (Erin McKeown, Stephen Brackett, Shawn King), crossing lands both perilous and protective (Sana Krusoe, Oregon), strangers becoming companions for survival (Priscilla Otani), Syrian mass migrations (Kathryn Clark), honoring the courage to migrate (Delilah Montoya, Houston), the worries and hopes of children (Judy Gelles, Philadelphia), borders (Doerte Weber, San Antonio) and fences (Shannon Wright, San Jose) forcible drugging to deport (Daniela Ortiz, Peru), stories from detention centers (Delilah Montoya), our less than honorable history (Yu-Wen Wu, Boston), historic connections through out migrant histories (Zahava Sherez, Oakland), and challenging the media perpetuated preconceptions (Gala Narezo, Shamina de Conzaga and Chantal Fischzang, New York). Comedian Ronny Chieng: “when you tell authentic stories you show people that no matter how alien someone's background might seem to you we all have shared common human experiences.24
It is a collection of emotionally raw and, sometimes, uplifting stories. These works hold up mirrors and shed light on what viewers do not know that they do not know. They will move viewers to reconsider, to delve further, to acknowledge and affirm individuals instead of stereotypes, to ask more questions. They will humanize the issues. 11
As Carlos Cartagena wrote in his statement about his piece in this exhibition, “You must look only forward and tear off your umbilical cord.” What else? Action It is important to remember “transformative justice is and must be led by those most affected by injustice.”25 As allies, we can listen. We can stay open to the message behind different languages, different experiences, differing abilities to express, different levels of knowledge about what is happening and be willing to learn and to be told what we don’t know. We can respect. We can denounce the stereotypes used to denigrate peoples. We can use our social capital for change and donate to immigrant led organizations or legal assistance funds. We can channel our concern into action and contact our elected officials. We can intervene nonviolently. We can speak up and not let fear lead to passivity (silence can be interpreted as approval). We can teach our children “to distinguish between true and untrue as fiercely as [we] do between right and wrong and between wise and foolish.26 We can, as Define American and immigration rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas suggest, “elevate the conversation about American identity,...disrupt the dominant paradigm, thereby opening avenues for the voices often left unheard in the mainstream...ask the right questions, through provocative and uncomfortable conversations that create teachable moments,...keep the United States a welcoming nation”.27 We can become more informed: 10 Ways to Support Students Facing Immigration Crises28 Teaching Tolerance’s guide for educators, school support staff and communities working with school boards to pass a resolution affirming schools as welcoming places of learning for all students and distancing the schools from enforcement actions that separate families. 29 Ms. Magazine’s “Five Step Toolkit for Dealing with White Supremacists” 30 Define American College Chapters Official Toolkit 21 Download the United We Dream Deportation Defense Guide (available in multiple languages)32
Sherri Cornett Partner, Gutfreund Cornett Art 12
”Committee On Migration’s Advocacy Letter Opposing The Us Muslim Ban,” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, accessed September 2, 2017, http://wilpf.org/wilpf_statements/committee-on-migration-advocacy-letter-opposing -the-us-muslim-ban/ 2 Kurt Anderson, “How America Lost Its Mind,” The Atlantic, September 2017, pp. 78, 86. 3 Errol Morris, “The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 2),” The New York Times, June 21, 2010, https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/the-anosognosics-dilemma-somethings-wrong-butyoull-never-know-what-it-is-part-2/. 4 Errol Morris, “The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1),” The New York Times, June 20, 2010, https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/?mcubz=0&_r=0. 5 Robert Wright, “Why Can't We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality,” The Atlantic, November 2013, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/11/why-we-fightand-can-we-stop/309525/ 6 Ibid. 7 https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/asymptote 8 Errol Morris, “The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 4),” The New York Times, June 23, 2010, https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/the-anosognosics-dilemma-somethings-wrong-butyoull-never-know-what-it-is-part-4/. 9 Errol Morris, “The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1)” 10 Héctor Tobar, “Avoiding the Trap of Immigration Porn,” The New York Times, August 7, 2017. https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/opinion/immigration-porn-photography-deportation.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic% 2FIllegal% 20Immigration&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentP lacement=10&pgty] 11 Teaching Tolerance Staff, “Ten Myths About Immigration – Updated!,” Teaching Tolerance, accessed September 2, 2017, https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/ten-myths-about-immigrationupdated. 12 Isaac Cui, “The Case for (and Against) Sanctuary Jurisdictions,” Claremont Journal of Law and Public Policy, April 11, 2017, https://5clpp.com/2017/04/11/the-case-for-and-against-sanctuary-jurisdictions/. 13 Michael Gonchar and Katherine Schulten, “Analyziing Trump’s Immigration Ban: A Lesson Plan,” The New York Times, January 29, 2017, https://static01.nyt.com/images/blogs/learning/pdf/2017/TrumpExecutiveOrderLN.pdf 14 Gustavo López and Kristen Bialik, “Key findings about U.S. immigrants,” Frontline, May 3, 2017, http:// www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/03/key-findings-about-u-s-immigrants/. 15 Caitlin Dickerson, “Trump Administration Moves to Expand Deportation Dragnet to Jails,” The New York Times, August 21, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/us/sheriffs-immigration-jails.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FIllegal% 20Immigration&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentP lacement=10&pgtype=collection. 16 Gretchen Gavett, “Map: The U.S. Immigration Detention Boom,” Frontline, October 18, 2011, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/ frontline/article/map-the-u-s-immigration-detention-boom/ 17 Caitlin Dickerson, “Trump Administration Moves to Expand Deportation Dragnet to Jails” 18 Gretchen Gavett, “Map: The U.S. Immigration Detention Boom” 19 Angilee Shah and Anna Pratt, eds., “Their lives are changing because of Trump’s immigration policies. Here’s how,” Public Radio International, August 4, 2017, https://www.pri.org/interactive/2017/in-trumps-america/. 13
”Immigration Detention Conditions,” American Civil Liberties Union, accessed September 2, 2017, https://www.aclu.org/ issues/immigrants-rights/immigrants-rights-and-detention/immigration-detention-conditions. 21 Miriam Jordan, “Dreamer Plan That Aided 800,000 Immigrants is Threatened,” The New York Times, August 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/27/us/politics/dreamers-trump-lawsuit.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FIllegal% 20Immigration&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPl acement=2&pgtype=collection&_]. 22 Isaac Cui, “The Case for (and Against) Sanctuary Jurisdictions” 23 Teaching Tolerance Staff, “Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff,” Issue 55, Spring 2017, https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/spring-2017/immigrant-and-refugee-children-a-guide-for-educators-and-schoolsupport-staff. 24 Kimberly Yam, “Ronny Chieng Nails Why Media Diversity Matters Not Just For Diversity’s Sake,” The Huffington Post,June 28, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ronny-chieng-daily-show_us_5953b701e4b0da2c732018ca. 25 Alexis Clements, “The Artists and Activists Who’ve Aimed at the Roots of Injustice,” Hyperallergic, June 14, 2016, https:// hyperallergic.com/289110/the-artists-and-activists-whove-aimed-at-the-roots-of-injustice/. 26 Kurt Anderson, “How America Lost Its Mind,” p. 91. 27 Define American staff, “Define American College Chapters Official Toolkit,” accessed September 2, 2017, http://isrc.defineamerican.com/2016/06/160321-Toolkit.pdf. 28 Anita Casavantes Bradford, Laura E. Enriquez and Susan Bibler Coutin, “10 Ways to Support Students Facing Immigration Crises,” Inside Higher Ed, January 31, 2017, https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/01/31/how-faculty-members-andadministrators-can-help-immigrant-students-essay. 29 Ibid. 30 Marty Langelen, “A Five-Step Toolkit for Dealing with White Supremecists in the Era of Trump,” Ms. Magazine, August 14, 2017, http://msmagazine.com/blog/2017/08/14/five-step-toolkit-dealing-white-supremacists-era-trump/. 31 Define American staff, “Define American College Chapters Official Toolkit,” accessed September 2, 2017, http://isrc.defineamerican.com/2016/06/160321-Toolkit.pdf. 32 ”Know Your Rights! Protect Yourself Against Immigration Raids”, United We Dream, accessed September 2, 2017, https:// unitedwedream.org/thank-deportation-defense-card-handy-phone/.
Where do you come from? (image by Alejandra Chaverri)
Where are you from, and where are you going and how does one fit in the American culture that is increasingly perpetrating the concept of “other” rather than unity, while holding onto the false notion of white supremacy, disregarding the American Dream that was intended for all. Beyond Borders: Stories of im/Migration is an international group exhibition, created by Sherri Cornett and me that explores the lasting effects migration has on cultural identity from the perspective of first and second generation immigrants from across the global diaspora. This exhibition gives an intimate look into their individual experiences and how these experiences have shaped who they are today. Exhibitions are years in the planning, starting with a seed for the “theme”. Years ago I heard a ludicrous comment by Sarah Palin stating that in order to pay off the costs of the detention camps, the incarcerated children should go to school half day and work in factories the other half to pay for their keep. I was astonished then and even more so now as we learn more about the plight of primarily, the women and children in these center. My thoughts keep coming back to the innocent kids in these forlorn places, having run from violence and possible death to end up indefinitely in a prison. Many of them bereft of family, and survivors of rape, torture, and religious persecution, to now be behind bars with little hope for a better future.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (Photo courtesy of me, taken on the Staten Island Ferry with my twin and her family. I initially teared up and then was so angry passing by Ms. Liberty thinking of what is happening in our country).
Our current administration, spearheaded by President #45, is attacking what defines America at its best—an advocate and ally for democracy and refuge for the endangered and oppressed. It saddens and angers me to have our historic role as a sanctuary dismissed for these women, children, and families looking for a better life. Political and activist art is not new, but it is stronger now than ever and it encourages me that perhaps with the collective consciousness movement for resistance and social engagement as evidenced by the quantity of exhibitions and art being produced on these matters, we will see positive change, not only for the United States but the world. From picnics across our southern border to installations in Washington Square Park, NYC, immigration is on everyone's mind.
Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist, has created titled Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, in his his largest public art project to date installed under the arches in Washington Square Park, NYC. He speaks about migration issues and nationalism in an article in Time, October 23, 2017, “We are better than them. They are the danger. They are the problem. It’s trying not to recognize humanity as one. It’s against the ideology that we’re all created equal, and it’s a violation of our understanding of human rights and human dignity, and it’s just such a backward movement.” JR, a Paris based artist has recently created two works that I think are brilliant. The first, a part of the Inside/Out Project is a 3story Mexican toddler curiously peering over the fence between Tecate, Mexico and the USA. He is too young to understand the concept of borders or fences, but his gaze speaks volumes about shared humanity. On the last day of the installation, they hosted a picnic with the monumental canvases spread over both sides of the fence as a surface for people to eat off of-printed on the canvases were photos of the eyes of a “dreamer”, titled Giant Picnic. JR didn’t publicize it online, fearing it would be shut down by US Border Patrol, and relied on “word of mouth” advertising and ended up with hundreds of people to share the meal, including the border patrol. “The table goes through the wall, and the people eat the same food and drink the same water and listen to the same music,” JR says. “For a minute we were forgetting about it, passing salt and water and drinks as if there were no wall.”
*Photo’s by JR 16
MIGRATION AND THE JOURNEY WHERE do you come from? Unless you’re a Native American, you ARE an immigrant on the land of the United States--a transplant on this soil. Personally, my family emigrated from the Alsace-Lorraine area that at different times could be considered either Germany or France, depending on who controlled the area at the time. Being that my last name is Gutfreund, I identify as German. I just don’t comprehend how my family coming from Germany is any different from a family coming from any other country. With current xenophobia running rampant, Richard North Patterson (BostonGlobe.com, 10/2/17) nails it on the head: “Trump seeks to assuage his base by embracing an “America First” policy drenched in xenophobia. In the past weeks, Trump has affirmed his indifference to democracy and people beyond our shores, embracing legislation that sharply limits legal immigration; entertaining a further choke hold on admitting immigrants; renouncing our commitment to humanitarian ideals abroad; and rejecting pleas to help refugees from war and bloodshed. Our openness to the oppressed tells the world that we are worthy of emulation, not enmity. Our strength derives not merely from those who are Americans by accident of birth, but from those who made a free and cherished choice.” Yu-Wen Wu, artist, states concisely “Migration: the physical movement from one place to another, sometimes over long distances, singularly or in large groups usually due to hardships--famine, persecution, war or economic necessity. And just as urgent, due to extreme weather. Rarely does one want to leave family, friends or homeland for the unknown and oftentimes perilous new beginning”. Through her video Migration-On Yellow Brick Road, 2013, Wu portrays fragile strings holding societies together and the ties that bind us to cultures, home and family. With empty pages of a book, what stories are yet to be told, what do we bring and what do we leave behind. This fall we had horrendous wild fires in Northern California that were devastating to thousands of people. Many had to get up immediately in the middle of the night and run for their lives, leaving everything behind. Of course, this is happening across the globe with peoples having to migrate due to natural disasters, conflicts, wars and violence. Our terrible fires have made me ponder -- just what would I take with me -- but what could I carry and for how long could I carry the objects, before they would need to be discarded along the road? Carlos Cartegena with Estatuas de Sal (Pillars of Salt) portrays the plight of the migrant refugee children with wooden humanshaped figures on large scale canvases covered with true stories, including photos, documents, poems and original letters. This diptych was created using images of the children and coated in a salt solution with a reference to Sodom and Gomorrah and the impending destruction of two cities. Carlos says ” In order to rescue themselves, they have to leave everything behind, to uproot themselves and take with them only those belongings that can fit in their hands. Inhospitality, sin and barbarism, chaos and anarchy – these were the reasons and pretext for the destruction by fire and brimstone. To avoid this fate, you must emigrate without asking what future awaits you. You must look only forward and tear off your umbilical cord. Run, escape, save yourself! But don’t ever allow yourself to look back.” So, I wonder--are they leaving their childhood behind when they can only take one small item that may fit in their backpack? 17
And it’s not only possessions left behind, but also the culture, people, families, and the land and landscapes one calls home. Tessie Barrera-Scharaga with Cartography of Longing creates installations that poignantly tell the story of her childhood moving frequently between South and Central America and the US. Arriving at each new destination meant she had to adjust to a different setting, ways of doing things and cultures. She said “It required a lot of explaining, beginning with who I was and where I came from. Though these experiences left me with an expansive concept of home as we moved from one country to another, I continually longed for people, places, and things that were very dear to me, and that were by force, left behind.” The journeys that are taken to try and get to safer shores are rife with danger. Judith Quax with Washed Up Clothing has documented washed up pieces of clothing on the beach of Yoff, a small fishing village in Dakar, the largest city in Senegal. Judith states from her series: “For many migrants and their families Presence in Absence is a reality: families are separated for many years and, as a result of undocumented status, are often not capable of traveling back. Watching the waves playing with the clothes, I was wondering about what happened to the people who wore them.” I find these fragments of clothing visually beautiful in the sand but so very sad portraying individuals who have lost everything, perhaps even their lives. Delilah Montoya’s panoramic stunning desert landscape photography engages the migrant trails along the US Mexican border and the other foregrounds the mass immigrant incarceration. These landscapes represent “a contemporary middle passage,” where thousands of migrants have perished. THE STORIES Ours is a time where borders and division continue to challenge our very understanding of humanity. But we have a unique opportunity to share our humanity and our stories on the world stage and it is as close as the screens we hold in our hands. We need to continue to address questions of im/migration, refuge, identity, nationalism, internationalism and community. Judy Gelles has challenged us to examine key issues with her Fourth Grade Project, with responses from the children that are both charming and heartbreaking. Over the past nine years Gelles has interviewed and photographed more than 300 fourth grade students from a wide range of economic and cultural backgrounds in China, England, India, Israel, Italy, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, South Africa, South Korea, and multiple areas of the United States. She asked all of the students the same three questions: Who do you live with? What do you wish for? What do you worry about? Told in their own words, their stories touch on common human experiences and urgent social issues. A unifying message throughout is one of hope for the security and happiness for their families. Gala Narezo, Shamina de Gonzaga and Chantal Fischzang with large scale, mixed media photography installations, challenge the preconceptions propagated by media, and to cast a positive, more human light on people’s struggles. They said “Our intent is to bring some genuine, layered, personal narratives to generate empathy and prompt public response to eventually affect policy. Our approach is to superimpose media dissemination with personal narratives to counter how the stories of Mexico, the drugs wars and the phenomenon of migration were being told in the media. The work prompts viewers to stand in-between a contradiction of type and image in order to create a commentary about people’s realities vs the discrepancies of political regulations.” 18
THE JOURNEY AND BORDER CROSSING One of the first works I found while doing research for this exhibition was by Diane Kahlo with Crossings/Travesías. I was bound and determined to get it to California to be a part of this exhibition and luckily survived the floods in Texas this fall. With a skeleton and skulls embellished in jewels and bling, laying in a sand grave/installation, while being lamented over by the Virgin of Guadalupe, Diane beautifully portrays the inevitable loss of life of people attempting to migrate across the harsh desert environment. According to the UN, 65 million people were displaced last year due to natural disasters, war and persecution. Sana Krusoe with sculptures border crossing: Coronado/nogales and point reyes/homer represents to me all the people in the world that are displaced. So many people, it’s unfathomable. Can you image putting your child in a suitcase to get him through airport security and onward to another location where he will be safe? Julio Cesar Morales with Boy in Suitcase does just that. This work is a video depicting an eight-year-old boy's journey from the Ivory Coast, recently smuggled to Spain via Morocco in a suitcase. Beautifully rendered with lights and colors is juxtaposed with the realization of what is happening. The fear and desperation to risk this with your child is unfathomable. THE WALL “Before I built a wall, I’d ask to know, what I was walling in or walling out.” Robert Frost. Entering the art building at the University, one will be confronted with Shannon Wright’s Feral Fence, a huge sculptural fence of steel and Y-shaped barbed-wire and prickly wire, installation in the vestibule from which the visitor will have to traverse to see the exhibition. We thought this an excellent way to set the tone for the show. Shannon says of her work created in 2007 “Ten years later, such a "border scheme"–a grotesque symbol of hubris and myopia–is on the brink of realization in the U.S. In this political climate Feral Fence offers a vision of a kind of "magical thinking," of a natural, gradual unraveling of an act of human aggression.” But once on our shores, the treatment of the immigrants can be barbaric. Daniela Ortiz, video FDTD ( Forcible Drugging to Deport / Sedación Forzada para Deportar), portrays in graphic detail the forced administering of a sedative drug to allow easy deportation of the victim. In the video she receives an intravenous injection and reads the Free Trade Agreement signed by the Peruvian and the North American governments. She also speaks about the number of Peruvians deported from the United States and about the practice of forced sedation during deportations carried on by the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency of the United States of America. Although on another subject entirely, the forced sedative injections make me think of the force-feeding of the suffragettes. These unneeded shows of force and power, and the lack of humanity—leaving the victim powerless and subjected to will of their captors to do as they wish. CONTINUED HOPE AND CHANGE Another influence and inspiration for curating this exhibition was an event at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. The ground swell in Washington was amazing, with thousands of women walking from every direction towards Ground Zero, to 19 …….
the main stage for the speeches (I, luckily, was only 20 yards from it) to listen and then to march to protest and in of support healthcare and reproductive rights, racial and social justice, family and education, religious freedom and xenophobia, environmental justice, and immigration rights. The speeches were all inspiring, but what affected me the most was Sophie Cruz, a 6-year-old immigration activist and daughter of two undocumented immigrants, who spoke at the March. Sophia is the little girl who initially attracted national attention when she slipped through the security barricade to get to Pope Francis during a procession when he visited the U.S. in 2015. She handed the pope a letter about immigration reform, in which she expressed her fear that her parents would be deported. At the march, Sophia said: "We are here together making a chain of love to protect our families. Let us fight with love, faith, and courage so that our families will not be destroyed. I also want to tell the children not to be afraid because we are not alone. There are still many people that have their hearts filled with love . . . let's keep together and fight for the rights. God is with us." She then repeated it in Spanish. It brought me to tears. "Hola a todos, Mi nombre es Sofía Crúz. Aquí estamos nosotros juntos haciendo una cadena de amor para proteger a nuestras familias. Luchemos con amor, fé y corage para que sí nuestras familias no sean destruidas. También quiero decir a los niños que no tengan miedo porque nosotros no estamos solos. Todavía hay mucha gente que tienen sus corazones llenos de amor... Mantengamonos unidos y luchemos por los derechos. Dios está con nosotros" Sofia ended her speech in Spanish, ending with a rousing chant of “Si se puede! Si se puede!” Yes we can, we still can. I could not agree more completely! To quote The Jailer: Part 2, music video by Erin McKeown, Stephen Brackett and Shawn King “Fear will not last forever, freedom will come. We will defeat the hatred, freedom will come.” Our hope is with this exhibition we will inspire a feeling of collective humanity and recognizing humanity as one rather than the concept of “other” and the rise of nationalism and the unneeded fear it produces. NEXT STEPS In regards to activist, art—with this turbulent time of political changes, social, racial, gender and economic inequality—how do we effect positive change through art? How do we listen, speak our minds, include, and act in collaboration or alone across generational differences, races, identities and cultures, to build our future, locally and globally? I think this exhibition spoke eloquently to these subjects. Art can be a powerful, productive force and instrumental in sparking change or critical thinking. Through our curatorial practice, I am committed to promoting and supporting local, national, and global art activism. Art can produce a visceral response and can provoke, inspire, or disturb, and opens your eyes to worlds other than your own. While the artist may not consider themselves to be a revolutionary, by bringing to light issues and concerns, art can effect change. We need art that help us to understand what is happening in our society, who we are, where we come from and where we’re going. 20 x
And I’m very encouraged by the amount of activist art that is being created and exhibited—not only at universities, galleries, non-profit centers and museums but also artists that are taking it to the street. As art as activism curators, we are so pleased to have the opportunity to share these artists important work with the public.
Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens, by Joaquin Avila, who has been living in the United States for about two years and originally hails from Cuba. Much of his work focuses on social issues. Per Joaquin: “This mural represents strength and power in unity,” Avila explained through a translator to HuffPost. “America is great with us, with immigrants. My message is a very real one of struggling immigrants who feel trapped by the oppressive tendencies of our leaders. I wanted to take Donald Trump’s message and play with it, change the context.” (photo by Vincent Versace from HuffingtonPost.com 11/8/17)
We sincerely want to thank the artists Tessie Barrera-Scharaga, Carlos Cartagena, Rolando Chicas, Kathryn Clark, Judy Gelles, Taraneh Hemami, Diane Kahlo, Sana Krusoe, Erin McKeown, Stephen Brackett and Shawn King, Delilah Montoya, Julio Cesar Morales, Gala Narezo, Shamina de Gonzaga and Chantal Fischzang, Priscilla Otani, Daniela Ortiz, Judith Quax, Zahava Sherez, Yu -Wen Wu, Doerte Weber; and Shannon Wright for participating in the exhibition. And a huge thanks to Santa Clara University and their wonderful staff, Kathy Aoka, Dr. Laura Chu, Kelly Detweiler, Mitch Grieb, Andrew Hedges, Pancho Jimenez, Dr. Kathleen Maxwell, Takeshi Moro, and Dr. Craig Stephens for hosting Beyond Borders: Stories of im/Migration and the associated programming at the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building and Art Gallery. It has been a privilege and honor to share our vision with you. Karen Gutfreund, Curator
Tessie Barrera-Scharaga San Jose, California www.tessbscharaga.com Tessie Barrera-Scharaga finds many ideas for her work in the creative tension between private subjective values and social concerns. She is a mixed-media installation/assemblage artist who draws a direct correlation between her artistic drive and process, and her experiences growing up in South and Central America. Catholic nuns introduced her to the poems of Ruben Dario, Gabriela Mistral, and Pablo Neruda, and thus began a life-long addiction to poetry and an appreciation for symbolism and metaphor. Her assemblage and installation pieces go beyond the boundaries of media, to the symbolic realm where both the conscious and unconscious minds are accessed. Ephemera takes center stage, and BarreraScharaga arranges her materials to allow for associations between the ordinary and the extraordinary; the rational and the irrational. Found objects are combined with paper, wood, metal, clay, fabric, video, and sound. Unexpected pairings channel and challenge the viewers' collective memory: a chair obliterated by the lines of a poem; a wedding gown covered in clay; a house bandaged in surgical gauze. In her work Barrera-Scharaga addresses the questions, insights, hopes, frustrations, and dreams that fuel human action. Her themes move from love and loss, to desire, transformation, and transcendence. Through her work Barrera-Scharaga directs the viewers' attention to a broad spectrum of personal, political, and environmental concerns.
Born in New York City of Colombian and Salvadoran parents, Barrera-Scharaga followed her familyâ€™s trajectories through the Americas (North, Central, and South) in her childhood and teenage years, returning to the U.S. to attend college. Though she has resided in California for most of her adult life, she continues to maintain a deep connection to her Latin American cultural roots. Tessie Barrera-Scharaga received a BFA in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University, and an MFA in Studio Art from Mills College. She lives and works in San Jose, California, where she has shown her work extensively. She also participates in art shows in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and abroad. Recent shows include Living With Endangered Languages in the Information Age at Root Division in San Francisco, CA, Songs and Sorrows at the Oakland Museum, and most recently, A Show of Kindness and Hope, at the Euphrat Museum, in Cupertino, California. Tessie Barrera-Scharaga has been the recipient of grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation and the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs. She has also received recognition from local art organizations for artistic excellence, and awards for her leadership in community art projects. ARTIST STATEMENT: Home for me has always been hard to pinpoint. My parents were both foreign students from South and Central America when they met in the U.S. Falling in love, and subsequently marrying, put our family on multiple trajectories throughout the American continent. Though I was born in New York, I zigzagged between cities and countries many times over while growing up. Arriving at each new destination meant adjusting to different settings, people, ways of doing things, and manners of speaking. It required a lot of explaining, beginning with who I was and where I came from. As a child I attended five different elementary schools. My experience of being the foreigner was repeated many times over as I advanced through each grade. This body of work acts as a journal from that particular time in my life. Each painting alludes to a region of the continent where my family lived and traveled. The lyrics of childrenâ€™s songs delineate the journeys taken. Though these experiences left me with an expansive concept of home as we moved from one country to another, I continually longed for people, places, and things that were very dear to me, and that were by force, left behind. 22
Cartography of Longing, Letting Go, Mixed media assemblage incorporating painting, paper, and found objects, 2 x 2 x 5 feet, 2013 23
Cartography of Longing, In Between, Mixed media assemblage incorporating painting, paper, and found objects, 2 x 2 x 5 feet, 2013 24
Cartography of Longing, Songs for the Journey, Mixed media assemblage incorporating painting, paper, and found objects, 2 x 3 x 5 feet, 2013 25
Carlos Cartagena San Francisco, California www.carloscartagena.net
I was born in El Salvador in 1966. The formative years of my youth were in the 1980s, when my country was beginning to bleed incurably from the wounds of war. A restless desire to make art was always with me, but initially I opted to undertake a more practical career—I began studying business administration at the National School of Commerce.
I was always in direct contact with painting and artists since for generations my family had been in the framing business. This, as well as the sociopolitical condition of my country, induced me to assume art as my role in life, not only as a profession but also as an alternative form of resistance to the oppression of the regime in those years. In November of 1989, I came to the United States and started to explore new techniques. At first, I joined CODICES, a group of artists working in support of Salvadoran culture, and then, for five years, I was part of a project at the KALA Art Institute in Berkeley directed by Claudia Bernardi. Here I learned various techniques of etching and printmaking. In 2009, I founded a cultural project in my art studio, No Right Turn Studio. I yielded my space to this project in an attempt to fill a gap in our Latin American community. A place where many artistic disciplines could converge with the historical necessity that forces us to rethink certain codes or reconceptualize our principles as a society. No Right Turn Studio hosted visual art, music, documentaries, reading workshops, etc. This cultural project was successful since we do not have a place to embrace all these Latin American activities in San Francisco. The most satisfying event we were involved in was the co-production of the Silvio Rodríguez concert in 2010. Today, I am working independently on painting, printmaking, installations, and mixed media. One of my most recent fascinations is jewelry design. Teaching is another of my passions, so I participate in different programs here in the Bay Area and other countries as well. I have had an opportunity to exhibit my work in group shows with well-known artists, such as Francisco Toledo, Claudia Bernardi, Rupert García, Enrique Chagoya, and Nathan Oliveira. Since 1993, my work, in addition to being shown at numerous venues in the Bay Area, has been exhibited in El Salvador, Mexico, Japan, Cuba, Hawaii, and various cities in the United States.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Esta nueva serie, la cual es parte de Siluetas, invita a revisar aquella historia donde unos emisarios llevan el anuncio sobre la destrucción de un par de ciudades. La oportunidad de salvarse de esa destrucción no era para todos los habitantes. Aquellos que se salvarían del castigo colectivo tendrían que renunciar a su tierra, a sus amigos, a sus amaneceres. Para salvarse habrá que dejarlo todo, habrá que arrancarse a uno mismo de cuajo, habrá que rescatar de las pertenecías, solo lo que quepa en las manos. El caos y la anarquía, los vicios y la barbarie, acaso todo esto inducido, fue razón y pretexto para la demolición con fuego y azufre. Para evitar ser parte de este castigo habrá que emigrar sin preguntarse qué futuro te depara. Habrá que mirar solamente hacia adelante y romperte el cordón umbilical. Corre, sálvate, pero que no se te ocurra mirar hacia atrás.
Estas siluetas han sido tomadas de niños migrantes y refugiados.
This new series is part of the Silhouettes project, a travelling exhibition of wooden human-shaped figures covered with true stories of migrant people, including photos, documents, poems and original letters. The diptych Estatuas de Sal is created using images of migrant refugee children and coated in a salt solution. It invites us to take a different perspective on that ancient biblical story in which emissaries announce the impending destruction of two cities. Not all the inhabitants have the opportunity to save themselves from this doom. Those who will escape the collective punishment must renounce their land, their friends, their sunrises. In order to rescue themselves, they have to leave everything behind, to uproot themselves and take with them only those belongings that can fit in their hands. Inhospitality, sin and barbarism, chaos and anarchy—these were the reasons and pretext for the destruction by fire and brimstone. To avoid this fate, you must emigrate without asking what future awaits you. You must look only forward and tear off your umbilical cord. Run, escape, save yourself! But don’t ever allow yourself to look back.
Carlos Cartagena Estatuas de Sal Mixed media on canvas 72 x 36 inches each 2016
Rolando Chicas El Salvador www.rolandochicas.com Rolando Chicas is an artist who lives and works in El Salvador Central America, began his art studies from a very young age. realized his university studies in fine arts in the United States and El Salvador. Rolando was awarded a scholarship and graduated with honors at the National Arts Center of El Salvador where he is now the professor in charge of Artistic Professionalization. He also works as a tutor at the Art Museum of El Salvador (MARTE). He has worked and directed with different educational and artistic projects with the European Union, where he met with Letizia Reina from Spain to deliver results from educational programs and artist funds. Founded Art Lab Academy, an experimental project of artistic education where he also does curatorial projects for Central American and North American artists showing in El Salvador. His work has been shown individually and collectively in El Salvador, the United States, Cuba, Nicaragua, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Public Exclamations of Love is an intervention project in public spaces. It consists of phrases written on concrete walls or walls of earth on the side of the roads. I appeal to the text as form and content of the piece, the message of the phrases refer to moments of reflection and personal experiences of separation and death. Aún te extraño (I still miss you) is a piece of the project, with calligraphic features on large format directly carved in bas-relief on the slope of land, which is visible in the distance. It is aside of the road leading to Tacuba Ahuachapán , Km 8.5, El Salvador. This is a project that I started performing in 2011, on my return to El Salvador after living several years in the United States. From having a face to face contact with family and friends, now I start having a virtual long distance relationship with the important people in my life, mostly in the social network Facebook. Since then , over the years , I’ve been keeping record making screenshots to online publications made by my family, friends and even strangers in which they refer to the separation, the distance and the feelings of missing and love to whom are far away. Despite not having physically some of family and friends with me, I can transform nostalgia into something palpable, through these comments and publications from a virtual wall to a real wall. Exclamaciones Públicas de Amor es un proyecto de intervención de espacios públicos. Consiste en frases escritas sobre paredes de concreto, o paredones de tierra en las carreteras. Recurro al texto como forma y contenido de la pieza, el mensaje de las frases alude a momentos de reflexión y experiencias personales relaciónalas a la separación y la muerte. Aún te extraño es la primera intervención del proyecto con características caligráficas de gran formato, labrado en bajorrelieve directamente en el talud de tierra, el cual es visible a la distancia. Ésta está ubicada en un costado de la carretera que conduce a Ahuachapán hacia Tacuba, kilómetro 8,5, El Salvador
Aùn te extraño Photo-Documentation of Bas-Relief, 2013 30
Kathryn Clark San Francisco, California www.kathrynclark.com
Based in San Francisco, Kathryn Clark works with the traditional textile mediums of embroidery and quilting to document global societal issues. Born and raised in the Deep South, Kathryn experienced and witnessed the effects of poverty firsthand. A move to the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1990’s posed a stark contrast to her upbringing, informing her current work. A passion for the social benefits of urban planning and a fascination with maps led her to work for Peter Calthorpe, a visionary in the field or urban planning. She left the planning field in 2004 and shifted her passion of geography and mapping into her artwork. In the past six years, her work has been exhibited widely across the U.S. and has been featured in several publications including The Craft Companion, 2016, Quilts and Human Rights, 2016 and Craft for the Modern World: The Renwick Gallery Collection, 2015 and in American Craft Magazine, Planning Magazine, Uppercase and New American Paintings. Her Washington, DC quilt is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Inspired by the historical storyboard of the Bayeux Tapestry, Refugee Stories is a series of embroidery panels that follow the journey of the Syrian refugees into Europe. The monumental scale of the crisis, the second largest mass migration in history, is documented in various points along the refugees’ journey out of Syria and into Western Europe. Each point along their journey was affected by geography: whether by sea or land, pastoral farmland or war torn desert. Using international news stories, Google Earth, and numerical data from the United Nations, each panel pieces together the journey in one schematic map.
Shelter Structure (Al Zaatari Refugee Camp) Hand embroidery and watercolor on Tyvek and cotton organdy 46 x 59 inches 2016
By Land, Hand embroidery on cotton organdy, 60 x 58 inches, 2017 34
New Home, Hand embroidery and watercolor on cotton organdy, 56 x 56 inches, 2017 35
Judy Gelles Philadelphia, Pennsylvania www.judygelles.com
Judy Gelles has an MFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters in Counseling from University of Miami. Her work is in public collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and Rio de Janeiro Museum of Art. She has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Visual Studies Workshop and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She exhibits widely, including the Delaware Art Museum, Moore College of Art, LA’s Skirball Cultural Center and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. She is published in Ms. Magazine; Vision Magazine, Beijing; Camerawork; New Art Examiner and Artweek. Awards include Critical Mass Top 50 Photographers, a William Penn Foundation Grant, a Fleisher Challenge Artist Award, a Mid-Atlantic Arts Artist Catalyst Grant, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and Curators Choice Award CENTER Santa Fe. Gelles has taught at Boston College, Tufts University and the University of the Arts, Philadelphia.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Over the past nine years Judy Gelles has interviewed and photographed more than 300 fourth grade students from a wide range of economic and cultural backgrounds in China, England, India, Israel, Italy, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, South Africa, South Korea, and multiple areas of the United States. She asked all of the students the same three questions: Who do you live with? What do you wish for? What do you worry about? Told in their own words, their stories touch on common human experiences and urgent social issues.
Fourth Grade Project: “All Alone” USA: Pennsylvania, Public School Photographs with text, 25 x 20 inches each, 2008
Fourth Grade Project: “Feel Lucky” USA: Pennsylvania, Private Quaker School Photographs with text, 25 x 20 inches each, 2010 38
Fourth Grade Project: “To Eat” China: School for Migrant Workers Children Photographs with text, 25 x 20 inches each, 2010 39
Fourth Grade Project: “The Rent” USA: California, Public School Photographs with text, 25 x 20 inches each, 2012 40
Fourth Grade Project: “Of Bees” USA: Washington, Native American Public School Photographs with text, 25 x 20 inches each, 2016 41
Taraneh Hemami San Francisco, CA www.taranehhemami.com
Hemami explores themes of displacement, preservation, and representation, working with materials of history, organizing images, and data into timelines, patterns, and maps that draw connections between contradictory narratives. Her installations intermingle with the architecture of the spaces they occupy, complicating their identity and altering their function. Her recent projects highlight the collective struggle within Iran and its Diaspora, investigating the universal connections between radical movements across times and geographies. She has received awards from the Creative Capital, Creative Work Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, and the California Council for the Humanities. Her works have been exhibited widely including at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, Victoria and Albert Museum, Boghossian Foundation, and at the Sharjah International Biennial.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Bodies, individually or in groups, are cutout from collected family photographs. What remains are fragments of place; intimate: a backyard, a living room, a bed, a dining table- or in public: a classroom, a bridge, a brick road- that evoke a sense of longing. Absent from captured moments of celebrations or identification portraits, these silhouettes of the invisible hover over the spaces they once occupied, tracing the outlines of their remembrances within layers of time, stranding together new narratives of belonging. Hall of Reflections is a multi-dimensional art project that chronicles the complex migrant experiences of men and women of the Iranian Diaspora in Northern California through site-specific and web-based installations. Drawing on Persian and Islamic designs and structures, Hall of Reflections creates a unique archive of personal photographs and narratives to explore themes of loss, preservation, displacement and belonging, specific to the historical experience of Iranian immigrants.
Absence (from the Hall of Reflections Series) Acrylic box prints, 6 x 9 inches each, 2016
Diane Kahlo Lexington, Kentucky firstname.lastname@example.org I lived in El Paso, Texas as a young child, and spent most of my teen years in southern California, before our family moved to Berea, Kentucky in 1965. I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in art in 1973. During those years, my work focused on worker's rights and anti-war politics. During the mid-seventies, I lived in Athens-Greece and taught English. During this time, my work was strongly influenced by numerous factors, including the iconography of the Byzantine Church, Classical and Hellenistic Art and architecture and the political climate of the time. In the last 15 years my work has focused on exploitation and violence against women and populations dis-empowered by sexism, racism, xenophobia and poverty. Most recently I've concentrated on topics addressing the U.S./Mexican border. This work has been supported by the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
Artist Statement The audio loop was composed and produced by Chicago artists/performers Juan Carlos Bueno and Christina Obregon of “Grupo Hurakán” specifically for the installation. Their music explores and celebrates the indigenous roots of Mexico. Every year hundreds of human remains are found in the deserts on the U.S./Mexican border. These bodies and sometimes scattered skeletal remains tell the stories of the risks these men, women and children risked on their treacherous journey to seek a better life. My artistic response to the many stories I’ve heard and read was to attempt to create an image that not only tells the tragic stories, but in some way reflects hope. I have to believe that art has the power to provoke dialog, and in some small way helps to further a conversation about social and political injustice. This is not my story. I am a U.S. born white middle class woman living in relative safety in central Kentucky. The iconic images in my work belong to these courageous people. The Virgin of Guadalupe The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico, but more importantly is a cultural symbol for Mexican identity. Affectionately known as La Morena, She is the protective mother, earth goddess, and is also an empowering symbol of liberation. Her image was carried on banners during the Mexican Revolution, used by Cezar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in their protests for workers' rights and is depicted by contemporary Chicana artists as a pre-Columbian earth goddess and an image of empowerment. Her image is used to mobilize communities into action against injustice.
I didn’t use the traditional image and pose of La Morena. Instead, I chose to paint her looking into the eyes of viewers, with outstretched hands offering comfort to the travelers. Her face was painted from the images of hundreds of faces of girls I’ve painted in a five year project about the kidnapping and murder of young women and girls in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The eyes are from the memory of one girl, the mouth, the nose, the jaw line from other young, innocent faces.
Crossings/Travesías Installation, with music composed and recorded by Juan Carlos Bueno and Christina Obregon with “Hurakan” Variable 2014-2017
Sana Krusoe Springfield, Oregon email@example.com
Sana Krusoe has exhibited at venues including Long Beach Museum of Art, the Pasadena Armory for the Arts, and the Barnsdall Municipal At Gallery in Southern California, Dorothy Weiss Gallery in San Francisco, and Maveety Gallery, Patricia Williams Gallery, Hoffman Gallery, Davis and Cline Gallery, Froelick Gallery, the Schneider Museum, and the Schnitzer Museum in Oregon. She is represented in many collections, including the Lannan Foundation. She was a resident artist at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in 1998. She was represented by Davis and Cline Gallery in Ashland, Oregon until it closed its doors. She graduated from Occidental College with a degree in English Literature in 1968, and taught ceramics and exhibited sculpture in the Los Angeles area from 1974-1990. She received an MFA from Claremont Graduate School in 1987. She is an associate professor emeritus at the University of Oregon, where she taught ceramics and sculpture from 1990 to 2014. She lives in the foothills of the Cascades near the McKenzie River.
ARTIST STATEMENT: These two pieces are from a series entitled â€œmigration,â€? an extended body of work done between 2006 and 2009. The series is based on the migratory patterns of birds, caribou, and humans, and on the imprinting that is part of navigation and the recognition of home. I have used the avian body as witness and site of record. The majority of the series focused on the global patterns of bird migration, using the beginning and end points of the journey as interchangeable destinations. However, two pieces focus on the migration of legal and illegal immigrants in the western United States. In border crossing: coronado/nogales the movement of people across the US/Mexican border and the subsequent scattering are marked across the map with insect specimen pins. In point reyes/homer urban centers and small agricultural communities that are the sites of seasonal worker migration are mapped out along the west coast as a webbing of lines and dots, journeys and arrivals. In both cases the network of trails and passages is a known yet invisible overlay, a connectivity that maps a culture on the move. This work explores the imbedded systems of navigation that imprint themselves sequentially and over generations, as well as the notion of home as particularity and safe harbor. Land serves both as refuge and killing ground. Remote deltas shelter migratory birds as they breed and molt, keeping them free of predators while they are flightless. The arctic coastal plain is the birthing place for hundreds of thousands of caribou. The tundra is underlaid with bones along their migratory paths. The coastline of the Gulf of Mexico is scattered with the bodies of songbirds that starved midair, fighting headwinds over water, running out of time. Yearly migrations among humans are similarly arduous: the desert yields its dead monthly along the border crossings. Though the journeys are perilous, they also serve survival, offering sanctuary, allowing vulnerability without penalty, producing life, producing hope. The drive to reach home or to return to more benign territory is both urgent and sublime. Next to this urgency on the edge, life is implacable, impersonal, piercingly sweet, unutterably beautiful.
border crossing: coronado/nogales Mixed media, 12 x 3 inches, 2009 50
point reyes/homer Mixed media, 12 x 3 inches, 2009 51
Erin McKeown Stephen Brackett Shawn King www.erinmckeown.com www.Flobots.com
ARTIST STATEMENT: Many artists use their art to express their convictions. In May 2011, Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter Erin McKeown, and nine other artists, visited Nogales as part of a musician activist retreat set up by Air Traffic Control. The border town, which straddles Arizona and Mexico, is an ideal place to witness the controversy over immigration and the strain felt by individuals on all different sides. During her trip, McKeown was able to witness the “rapidly shifting immigration debate, and explore the links between immigration, media justice, and criminal justice issues.” The musician debuted “The Jailer” on her self-released album Manifestra. The politcally charged track was inspired by the truths she experienced during her time in Nogales. “I took a trip to Nogales, Arizona to see the wall being built between the U.S. and Mexico.” she said. “I was struck by how it appeared to be a violent spine rising out of the beautiful desert […] This got me thinking about the toll a wall takes on the hearts of those it divides and on the soul of the builder of the wall.” More recently, Stephen Brackett (Flobots) and Shawn King (DeVotchKa) remixed McKeown’s “The Jailer” to produce “The Jailer: Part 2.” Through this release, the trio hopes to engage listeners by educating them on relevant issues of today. (from Dee Wallace, The Spec, October 4, 2013)
The Jailer: Part 2 Video, 3:45 minutes, 2013
Delilah Montoya Houston, Texas www.delilahmontoya.com Delilah Montoya is a self-identified Chicana photographer, printmaker, and installation artist, working and living in the U.S. Southwest of New Mexico and Texas. As an activist artist, she poses herself questions about identity, power, land, borders, gender, community, family, that she then explores through her art practice; one that is generally based in series that tell specific stories pointing to larger experiences. Even if she produces a one-off singular work of art, it addresses multiple histories and points of view. One can think of Delilah as an artist/scientist/anthropologist/ sociologist/humanist. Her works are both highly cerebral and conceptual on the one hand, and aesthetically dense and psychologically complex on the other. She is an investigator of histories and lives; her primary subject is the human condition through time and territory as expressed through the lens of being a mestiza, a Chicana, someone who claims a hybrid identity and place both in terms of lineage and culture. Born in Texas, raised in the Midwest, she has called New Mexico–the ancestral home of her mother’s family–home for more than thirty years. Its complex ethno-racial, religious, and socio-economic heritage has proved to be a fertile ground for her artistic explorations and collaborations with members of many disparate communities. In addition to collaborating on her own series with other artists or members of her communities, she is a founding member of an artists’ and activists’ collective based in Texas but incorporating people from Mexico as well—Sin Huellas (Without a Trace). This phrase refers to the practice of erasing one’s fingerprints to avoid detection by authorities as one attempts to evade deportation. Based in the notion of bringing to fuller attention the actual practices of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the frequent tragedies surrounding the daily realities of families held in detention, Sin Huellas produces installations to “trace the silhouettes we cannot see, listen to the conversations that we cannot record, and peer into the scenes that would rip our souls if we were forced to experience them.” In collaboration with Orlando Lara, Delilah’s earlier 2004-2008 panoramic photographic series Sed-Trail of Thirst, marking the deadly absence of water in the border region and concerned citizens’ efforts to make it available, ties in with this group’s efforts. ARTIST STATEMENT: This wall combines fragments from two art installations, Sed: The Trail of Thirst, 2004 by Lara and Montoya and Detention Nation 2015 by Sin Huellas artist collective. The first installation engages the migrant trails along the US Mexican border and the other foregrounds the mass immigrant incarceration. However, rather than focusing on depictions of human interaction with landmarks and locales, these projects wield expressive power by focusing on the absence of the human figure within these environments. Migrants are represented through the items that they discard and send. The landscapes depict the perilous migration route across the Arizona Sonora desert during their clandestine border crossings. The panoramic photographs document the desert crossing from northern Mexico through the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona. These landscapes represent “a contemporary middle passage,” where thousands of migrants have perished. Equally Sin Huellas artists, Jesus Gonzalez and Jessica Gonzalez, assembled detainee correspondences that plaster the wall. Together this work honors the courage of the migrant experience and those who have sought to provide migrants aid by establishing mini-oases and through human rights activism. Sed: Trail of Thirst was re-imaged for inclusion into the Los Angeles County Museum traveling exhibit, Phantom Sightings 2008, and the work continued to travel throughout the United States after the show closed in 2010. By traveling from Houston in 2015 to Denver in 2016 and then Topeka in 2017 the installation, Detention Nation, generates press and brings awareness concerning our broken immigrant detainment system as well as attention to our unreasonable immigration policies. 54
Sed: Trail of Thirst, Humane Borders Water Station Photography, 19 x 50 inches, 2004-2017 55
Sed: Trail of Thirst, Migrant Campsite Photography, 11.5 x 50 inches, 2004-2017 56
Sed: Trail of Thirst, Road to Aztalan Photography, 10 x 50 inches, 2004-2017 57
Julio Cesar Morales Tempe, Arizona www.gallerywendinorris.com /julio-cesar-morales
Born in Tijuana, Mexico, 1966, Morales lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona. By deploying a range of media and visual strategies, Julio César Morales investigates issues of migration, underground economies, and labor on personal and global scales. Morales works with whatever medium lends itself to a particular project; he has painted watercolor illustrations that diagram human trafficking methods, employed the DJ turntable, produced neon signs, created videos, photographs, prints, and installations, re-enacted a famous meal, all to elucidate social interactions and political perspectives.
Morales’ artwork has been shown at venues internationally, including the Lyon Biennale, Lyon, France; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Prospect 3 Biennial, New Orleans, LA; the Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Singapore Biennale, Singapore; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany; Rooseum Museum of Art, Malmo, Sweden; Fototeca de Havana, Cuba; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; The Nordic Watercolour Museum, Skärhamn, Sweden; Muca-Roma, Mexico City, Mexico. Morales’ work has been featured in publications, including The New York Times, Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Frieze Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, and Phoenix New Times. His work is in private and public collections including The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Kadist Foundation, The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and Deutsche Bank. ARTIST STATEMENT: Boy in Suitcase is a video about an eight-year-old boy's journey from the Ivory Coast that was recently smuggled to Spain via Morocco in a suitcase. The father who lives in Spain was trying to reunite with his son. The animation video attempts to create visuals from the boy's perspective of what he might have seen through a small zipper and tiny holes in the suitcase that features some kind of spiral hallucinations and a bewildering type of colors and sounds. The animation is produced from a single x-ray image taken by Spanish custom officials and then colors as sampled and animated to produce the moving image.
Boy in Suitcase Video installation, 3:30 minutes, 2015 Courtesy of the Wendi Norris Gallery, San Francisco 58
Gala Narezo Shamina de Gonzaga Chantal Fischzang New York, New York cargocollective.com/chantalfischzang/Mexus
Gala Narezo is an artist, educator, activist and mindfulness instructor who is committed to mindful change-making through the arts. Her work addresses a range of subjects including immigration, youth advocacy, gentrification, plastic bag legislation and womenâ€™s rights, using storytelling, mindfulness, and participatory practice as guiding principles. Identity, voice and justice are recurring themes that run through her work. Over the past fifteen years she has collaborated with a variety of amazing partners on awareness campaigns, educational platforms, public art and transformational media. Her most recent endeavor, Aware & Awake, is a visual curriculum and educational platform to help engage K-12 students in becoming mindful leaders and change makers. Gala degrees from Yale University and Art Center College of Design and is currently an M.A. Candidate in Art Education at City College of New York CUNY where her research is focused on ways to integrate mindfulness practices into arts programming. She believes that meditation is a powerful form of self care and kindness which enables us to find our voice and take a stand.
Gala co-founded What Moves You? An organization that produces educational public art and media exploring the relevance of global issues. She has worked as an NGO representative for Designmatters at Art Center College of Design identifying opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to collaborate on real world problems with the United Nations and taught Design Impact at Pratt Institute. She is a co-founder of Indocumentales: the US/Mexico Interdependent Film Series designed to inspire and enable an open exchange of views on pressing immigration related issues. She is also a partner in MEXUS, a collaborative effort to share Mexican immigration stories, providing portraits and stories of Mexicans living in the United States. Presently Gala teaches art and mindfulness in New York City to students of all ages. Chantal Fischzang is an Assistant Professor of Communications Design at Rutgers University-Newark and works independently in NYC and NJ. Her practice serves a range of multidisciplinary projects related to design for social impact and her capabilities range from brand identity systems, print, publications, exhibition to interactive design. Central to her practice as a designer and educator, is the concept of transformation design, taking on projects that connect design with social responsibility. Chantal is a founding member of IntraCollaborative, a team of designers and educators sharing a deep-seated interest in design and its relevance to the social sector. They focus on integrating the research-driven, industrious, and participatory methodologies of the academic setting, and the collaborative design process by working with like-minded organizations and independent clients. Together they continually look for ways to extend the principles of their academic pursuits into real environments and communities, working jointly to unravel complex issues and develop design materials aimed at social education and reform. 60
Along with her teaching role at Rutgers University-Newark, Chantal is founder of VISUAL Means AND Director of the DESIGN CONSORTIUM, two initiatives that offer graphic design students a collaborative, quasi-professional working experience in which they learn how design can serve and empower a community. Both programs function as design studios where students engage with real-world problems and offer design solutions for community organizations, researchers, activist and educational institutions in Newark and beyond. In recent years, Chantal’s independent and collaborative work has been recognized by the CORE77, AIGA, CREATIVITY, HOW, UCDA and AWWWARDS. In 2014, as part of IntraCollaborative, and along with the Center for Urban Pedagogy, she was awarded a SAPPI, IDEAS THAT MATTER grant for their RENT REGULATION RIGHTS project to be reproduced for the NYC Subway and to be translated for different communities in New York and San Francisco. In April of 2016, the RRR poster series became part of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in its latest exhibition about design with social purpose, called “By the People: Designing a Better America.” Chantal holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Florida Atlantic University and an MFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute. Shamina de Gonzaga, interviewer, editor for Mexus, co-founded What Moves You? and Indocumentales, a series presenting documentary films and dialogues on immigration. She also serves as Executive Director of WCPUN, a non-governmental organization (NGO) associated to the United Nations Department of Public Information, Editor-in-Chief of Centerpoint Now, a WCPUN publication, and regional facilitator for A4SD, a global network dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She previously worked as Special Adviser on NGO relations in the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly for the 60th, 61st and 62nd Sessions, facilitating civil society access to the global policy-making arena. She served as Chair of the 61st Annual Conference of NGOs, which provided a platform for activists worldwide to present their challenges and aspirations on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNESCO, Paris). She works with institutions and innovators in education, the arts, non-profits and the private sector to enhance awareness of how to achieve social impact through one’s discipline of choice. Her interviews and facilitation focus on identifying the experiences and values that underpin decision-making at the individual and societal levels. Writings include “Reporting is Activism” for Media for Change and co-authoring Founding a Movement, Women’s World Banking 1975-1990. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA and MA in French and Spanish literature, and is currently based between Miami and New York.
ARTIST STATEMENT: MEXUS is a mixed media series created in collaboration by Gala Narezo, Shamina de Gonzaga and Chantal Fischzang documenting Mexico/US migration stories in Mexico and the US since 2009. The goal of MEXUS is to provide a dimensional and authentic insight into the diverse Mexican experience in the United States. Intending to challenge the preconceptions and the reductive perception propagated by media, we cast a positive, more human light on peopleâ€™s struggles and their sentiment of their time here. Our intent is to bring some genuine, layered, personal narratives to generate empathy and prompt public response to eventually affect policy. Our approach is to superimpose media dissemination with personal narratives to counter how the stories of Mexico, the drugs wars and the phenomenon of migration were being told in the media. The work prompts viewers to stand in-between a contradiction of type and image in order to create a commentary about peopleâ€™s realities vs the discrepancies of political regulations.
MEXUS: Mixed Media including black and white photography, text, collage, newspapers, digital assemblage Variable 2011-17
Priscilla Otani San Francisco, California www.mrpotani.com
Otani is a San Francisco-based artist working in mixed media. Social issues, particularly those that affect youth, class and women are recurring themes. In the painted works, paper is combined with canvas and acrylics to create texture. Threedimensional and installation pieces are made with paper from funeral and stationery stores and objects harvested from recycle centers. Otani is a managing partner of Arc Studios & Gallery and on the board of the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art. ARTIST STATEMENT: This work was inspired by the extraordinary migration of Monarch butterflies and the parallels it draws to human migration. Once free-spirited and solitary, individuals gather on a certain day in two’s and three’s and in ever increasing numbers. Strangers, now companions, they travel together over a vast distance to escape certain death. Their only goal is survival and to bring the next generation forward. Entire generations die during this long migration but the will to reach a destination is borne by the next generations. Once arrived, tattered and weary Monarchs cluster together in the canopy of sheltering trees. Our Hearts Beat As One represents the shared desire of migrants for survival and regeneration. The paper umbrella represents a fragile shelter, a destination reached, though not as secure as expected. The inside spokes provide a narrow perch where the travelers cluster to stay warm. The fallen leaves beneath the umbrella offer both sustenance and a burial ground. The wings falling from the umbrella convey tears at the fleetingness of life. The first iteration of this installation was presented as Our Hearts Beat As One in the group exhibition, Crossing to Safety at the Abrams Claghorn Gallery. My desire is to create a multimedia installation of a dozen umbrellas, video projection and sound.
Our Hearts Beat As One Installation, 2.5' H x 3' Diameter x 5 pieces 2015-2017
Daniela Ortiz Barcelona, Spain www.daniela-ortiz.com
b. Peru 1985, Ortiz lives and works in Barcelona. Through her work, Daniela Ortiz generates spaces of tension in which the concepts of nationality, racialization, social class and genre are explored in order to critically understand structures of inclusion and exclusion in society. Her recent projects and research revolve around the issue of migration control, its links to colonialism, and its management by European-white states and societies. At the same time, she has produced projects about the Peruvian upper class and its exploitative relationship with domestic workers. Daniela gives talks and participates in discussions on Europeâ€™s migration control system and its ties to coloniality in different contexts. ARTIST STATEMENT: The video shows the moment when I received a dose of a sedating drug for the reading the Free Trade Agreement signed by the Peruvian and the North American governments. Previous to this, I gave information about the number of Peruvians deported from the United States as well as information about the practice of forced sedation during deportations carried on by the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency of the United States of America.
Peru FDTD (Forcible Drugging To Deport) Video, 5:56 minutes, 2012
Judith Quax Amsterdam, Netherlands www.judithquax.com
Quax has used photography, video, found footage, text and installations in her research and documentation of migration from West Africa to Europe. Her work is driven by a fascination with the concept of identity and how people adapt to their nomadic life. The tension between the memory of the homeland and the reality of the new life in another country are key elements in her work, which has exhibited at the Dakar Biennale, Lagos Photo, Cape Town Biennale, Noorderlicht Photofestival and published in African Arts and Nka Journal. She studied Communications, with a specialization in Cultural Identity and worked, in 2009, for Magnum in Motion in New York. Since then she has focused on her art projects. ARTIST STATEMENT: Since 2006 I have been researching and photographing migration from West Africa to Europe. The people I meet bring me in touch with other people, sometimes on the other side of the Ocean and vice versa. The lives of the migrants I have met through the years are multi-layered and often intertwined. One story unfolds into another. For many migrants and their families ‘Presence in Absence’ is a reality: families are separated for many years and, as a result of undocumented status, are often not capable of traveling back.
Walking at the beach of Yoff, a small fishing village in Dakar, I noticed that there were lots of washed up clothing. Watching the waves playing with the clothes, I was wondering about what happened to the people who wore them. When I was living in Yoff, and talked to the locals about immigration, I heard many stories of young fishermen that were desperate and risked their lives to reach Europe by small fishing boats. The life in West African fishing villages has become extremely difficult, due to sophisticated Western enterprises that fish extensively in the West African sea.
Immigration Clandestine” Washed Up Clothing (from the Yoff series) Photographs, Projected via video monitor, 2008-2017
Zahava Sherez Oakland, California www.zahavasherez.com
I was born in Argentina, grew up in Israel, and moved to the USA in 1985. I am tri-cultural and tri-lingual and I see myself as a citizen of the world. My work is influenced by these cultures and by personal and collective experiences of oppressions, wars, and immigration. In both my personal and artistic journeys I work with the essence of human consciousness, focusing on what connects us while highlighting our wonderful differences. I find these connections in my/our ancestral stories, in the elemental human stories, and in The Church of Nature. This is where my strength comes from, my soul finds its depth, and my art finds its wings. My series The Promised Land, which is a body of work I’ve been coming back to again and again over the years, focuses on the struggles we go through to grasp the meaning of “Oneness”, of “We, The Human Race”. My work has been shown from California to New York, Corsica and Paris and is in private and corporate collections around the world.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Human race’s history is filled with nomads, migrants, and refugees. In our bloodlines we can find the strong and courageous ones who fled persecutions to ensure our survival, the ones who fought for our rights to be, as equals. When refugees are called “them” we detach and distant ourselves from their struggles and inhuman conditions. The refugees of today were us, or our ancestors, in the not so distant past. Let’s respect each other, stay connected, involved, and pledge justice for all.
Those People Are Us Clay 144 x 72 x 42 inches 2006-2015
Doerte Weber San Antonio, Texas www.doerteweber.com
I am a structural weaver using diverse, modern materials with old traditional patterns. Bast fibers from native agave plants, rusty heddles which couldn't be used, and plastic bags from our newspapers are materials I use to create my work. Plastic bags from newspapers symbolize a connection to global events as much as to local happenings in our community. These bags are given to me by a vast network of people of whom I know only a few. Even though the people who will see the installation will never meet the people who provided the materials, they are creating a community. One part would not be possible without the other. I hope people will connect emotionally to my work and believe in our continued humanity which shows that we have more in common than what separates us.
ARTIST STATEMENT: When the border wall between the US and Mexico was built, memories of my home countryâ€™s border division (Germany 19611989) surfaced. Checkpoint Carlos forms 10 passagewaysâ€”woven plastic bags from newspaper given to me by a vast number of people in San Antonio, TX. They symbolized our common humanity, support for human rights and immigration reform.
Checkpoint Carlos Mixed media 3 panels, 8 x 4 feet each 2015
Shannon Wright San Jose, California http://www.shannonwright.org
Shannon Wright is a sculptor and installation artist based in San José, California. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Wright grew up chiefly in Sydney, Australia, and then spent her formative years as an artist among the iron trestle bridges and abandoned turn-ofthe-last-century hydroelectric power plants and foundries of Richmond, Virginia. In the past decade, Wright has been creating her own “ruins” and monuments, in reaction to a society whose mercantile logic never ceases to disorient her. Wright puts forth fictitious products that might appear to have been government-issued or sold by Home Depot, and subsequently allowed to fall into a state of neglect. With these objects she mourns the erosion of regional cultural identities and the rise of big-box ubiquity. Shannon Wright is represented by ADA Gallery, www.adagallery.com, located in Richmond, Virginia. ARTIST STATEMENT: Modernist utopias-turned-dystopias (the built and the never-built) have long fascinated me. In several of my pieces from the past twenty years I have aimed to create the impression of simplistic, institutionally-issued “solutions” to contemporary problems. In some cases, I intend for these solutions to now appear to be relics or ruins–poorly-conceived projects, now abandoned. With the piece called Feral Fence (2007) I hoped to suggest that this ubiquitous separator of public space and private property had been neglected—and had perhaps been irrelevant—for so long that it had reverted to a “state of nature.” From 2007 to 2008 the 12-foot-tall, 80-foot-long fence was exhibited along the edge of a quarry in Vermont. In 2007 artist and critic Marc Awodey wrote, “California artist Shannon Wright’s “Feral Fence” is a 10-foot-tall chain-link fence made of pristine, gleaming steel... A jumble of Y-shaped barbed-wire fence-post caps are woven with three strands of prickly wire, as if to suggest the old quarry is a treasure not be trespassed on. Of course, it’s an absurd fence, and possibly a wry critique of some of the border schemes currently being discussed in Washington, D.C.” Ten years later, such a “border scheme”—a grotesque symbol of hubris and myopi—is on the brink of realization in the U.S. In this political climate Feral Fence offers a vision of a kind of “magical thinking,” of a natural, gradual unraveling of an act of human aggression.
Feral Fence Galvanized and zinc-plated steel, chain link fencing, barbed wire Variable 2007
Yu-Wen Wu Boston, Massachusetts www.yuwenwu.com Yu-Wen Wu is a Boston based interdisciplinary artist. Born in Taipei, her work is informed by her bicultural upbringing—the eastern and western influences in life and art. Wu challenges our impressions of accuracy and storytelling in video, installation, drawing and sculpture. Compositing imagery, Wu draws together the natural world and social movement, on both a personal and global scale. She intimately approaches her own experiences of immigration and other culturally specific happenings by presenting them as a series of natural occurrences. She is dedicated to identifying systems and recreating patterns that sync nature and society—as if to suggest that understanding is accumulated from isolating such rhythms. Visualizations of data—charts, mapping and quantifiable gestures—are one of the many languages in which Wu story tells. She provides us with a truth, but from a distance and in a language we’re most likely to believe. ARTIST STATEMENT: Migration: the physical movement from one place to another, sometimes over long distances, singularly or in large groups usually due to hardships—-famine, persecution, war or economic necessity. Rarely does one want to leave family, friends or homeland for the unknown and oftentimes perilous new beginnings. Nearly two centuries ago Chinese immigrants came to America drawn to the California Gold Rush. Gold Mountain was initially named for California and in particular San Francisco where the immigrants disembarked, bound for the gold fields. These immigrants labored under extraordinarily harsh conditions, faced terrible discrimination, and many were murdered. From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Center of San Francisco served as the processing center for most Chinese immigrants. Some were detained for many years living under near barbaric conditions. In 1882, the U.S. government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, one of the most egregious impediments to free immigration in U.S. history. This was replaced in 1943 by the Magnuson Act, which permitted Chinese nationals already living in the U.S. to become naturalized citizens. It was a political move due to China and America’s allegiance in WWII. Although a positive development, it was a strict quota of 105 new Chinese visa entries per year, a disproportionately low ratio compared to other ethnic groups. This restriction was finally lifted at the height of the civil rights movement with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The Act increased the visa quota to 170,000 per year based on immigrant skills and family relationships in the United States. In a resolution sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu (D-California), the first Asian American elected to Congress, the House of Representatives officially apologized for the Chinese Exclusion Act. This rare apology occurred only recently on June 18, 2012.
Migration-On Yellow Brick Road HD Video 4:30 minutes 2013 78
Artist Essays/Stories of im/Migration
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Exhibition catalog for "Beyond Borders: Stories of im/Migration", curated by Karen Gutfreund and Sherri Cornett of Gutfreund Cornett Art to...
Published on Nov 27, 2017
Exhibition catalog for "Beyond Borders: Stories of im/Migration", curated by Karen Gutfreund and Sherri Cornett of Gutfreund Cornett Art to...