The importance of shared experiences and understandings
Curated by William G. Franklin, “Latino, Art Migration,” described itself as exploring “geographical misplacement. Fear for the safety of loved ones far away. Nostalgia for a home being left behind.” The exhibit aimed to communicate and shed light on the incredible distress and pain that immigrants endure. Franklin suggests that “these complex emotions make us who we are as travelers, exiles, dreamers, refugees—they haunt us regardless.”
The exhibition featured 15 local Minneapolis artists whose work reflected the personal and universal thoughts and experiences of migrants and immigrants. Located at the Concordia Art Center at Concordia University and St. Paul, the small collection was extremely powerful.
Throughout the gallery, the work was diverse in both medium and subject. Film projections, and prints lined the first few walls, installations and mixed media works just around the corner. The first space contained a group of six large paintings of different sizes and styled Mexican skulls. They were among the first pieces that caught the viewer’s eye. Their intriguing rust-red color was in fact the artist Luis Fitch’s blood.
Many of the pieces were created in frustration with the Mexican and Venezuelan governments and the violence against their citizens.
Many described personal experiences, contradictions of heritage and location in Minnesota, and the feeling of displacement. A floating gun, hung with fishwire, directly over a plush white pillow represented the number of violent deaths that occurred in 2014 in Venezuela: 25,000. Another installation, constructed pieces of charred wood, asked the question, “Does a perfect place exist?”
Each piece sent a message and had a purpose. The gallery felt heavy in this way, but also liberated. These 15 artists fully immersed themselves, migrant and immigrant histories, and current happenings into their work, and as a result, each piece demanded full attention.
People immigrate for many different reasons: personal, political, economic, cultural, environmental. These migrations can also be a result of violence and force, leaving those affected no choice. Whatever the case may be, the repercussions of immigration for the individual and the community cannot be suppressed, ignored, or deemed unauthentic. This exhibit set out to remind us that as a society, respectfully accepting our differences and raising awareness of multicultural issues is essential to moving forward.
Latino, Art Migration was described as “personal and universal meditations on the displacement, nostalgia, and anxiety of migrants and immigrants.” Contributing artists raised questions of the societal expectations of race, gender, ethnicity, and culture, and shared the details of their experiences. The exhibit emphasized the awareness, importance, and beauty of diversity, both in the arts and in our communities.