LIVING IN THE SHADOWS: UNDERGROUND IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES

by Francisco G. Gómez

Since the Republicans took power a little over a month ago, the issues of illegal immigration have dominated the political landscape in an unprecedented way. Even if you attempt to turn a blind eye  to the constant media reports because you’re so sick of hearing, seeing and perhaps experiencing it first hand in one way or another, it seems futile to do so.

Tibetan Immigrant

Last Friday evening I decided to see a small exhibition at the Douglass Library at Rutgers University on one of the themes dominating the controversial subject of underground immigrant communities. I must say that it was very interesting, and rather disturbing at the same time. The exhibition is a compendium of some beautifully shot, but horrific photographs showing the physical and mental wounds suffered by immigrants in search of a new life.

If you have QR capability on your smartphone, you can snap the code with your camera and listen to these heart breaking stories at your own leisure. Each photograph has a code.

Chinese Immigration

On display you will also find the exclusive story of a Chinese woman, Cynthia Tom,  written in chalk on one of the exhibition walls. It is very cleverly done because you can read it or listen to the story out loud on a speaker.

Immigrant Tags

One of the displays I found extremely curious from an artistic perspective is that of a number of paper shoes strung together; each of the shoes have a tag tied to them telling a story about how and why some immigrant came to the United States. This hits home in that it speaks to the reality that America is comprised of such a diversity of people who have come from all parts of the planet. It makes you understand the injustice of singling out a particular nationality because of bias and racism.

 

If you have a chance, don’t miss this exhibition. It will be on display until April 7th. It is a multi-disciplinary creative inquiry focused on hidden and undocumented immigrant communities. It will also have artists discussion and film screenings. Group exhibit artists: Pam Cooper, CERRUCHA, Lauren Everett, Sandra C. Fernandez, Cynthia Tom, and Gosche Wϋrfel.

Sponsored by Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series, a program of the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities in partnership with Rutgers University Libraries.

Location – 8 Chapel Drive, Douglass Campus Library – Rutgers University,  New Brunswick, NJ

Time – Mon – Sun –  9am to 10pm


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