Faces Change, Immigrant Prejudice Remains

Faces Change, Immigrant Prejudice Remains

Faces Change, Immigrant Prejudice Remains | Kimmel Windows

Faces Change | Immigrant Prejudice Remains explores the future of immigration policy and U.S. race relations in the context of Latin American migration

May 26 – October 1, 2021

Faces Change | Immigrant Prejudice Remains is a contemporary photography exhibition featuring the works of artists currently documenting the liminal, precarious, and life-threatening experience of crossing the Mexican-American border.

Latin American folx migrating to the U.S. for refuge have been put in the national spotlight due in large part to an escalation in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) raids, the detention of undocumented immigrants, and child separation policies. Tensions have contributed to a dramatic surge in anti-Immigrant and racist rhetoric making immigration at the U.S. - Mexico Border one of the most hotly contested discussions in United States politics.

Concern for the future of immigration policy and U.S. race-relations have amplified the discourse surrounding anti-immigration sentiment; thus, contributing to a revival in artistic and journalistic attention. By tracing artistic observations of the border, their works reveal and illuminate a history of long-standing bigotry. 

Faces Change, but Immigrant Prejudice Remains includes historical photographs that connect today’s xenophobia to that of the past, establishing a consistent narrative of discrimination in the United States directed towards Asian, brown, Black, and Indigenous folx.

As a direct response to the current political moment, we hope that confronting these stark images will inspire reflection and action as you walk through the city streets.

This exhibition features six artists, three working today and three from previous generations. Guillermo Arias, and Veronica Gabriela Cárdenas, Griselda San Martin are contemporary photographers documenting the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Their photography shares connections with the work of Dorothea Lange, Ken Light and Alex Webb photographers of the 1980s and 1990s, and 1930s, respectively.

Faces Change | Immigrant Prejudice Remains is curated by:

  • Sage Ballard de la Bastida, GSAS '21

  • Shelby Victoria Crespino, GSAS '21

  • Monica Marchese, GSAS '21

  • Cassandra Paul, GSAS '22

Support for the exhibit was provided by NYU Art in Public Places, operating under the aegis of the Office of the Provost.

While this series has been exhibited internationally, it addresses these families’ experiences in a U.S. context for the first time in its presentation here in NYU’s Kimmel Windows. Before the Supreme Court’s Loving v. Virginia decision in 1967, U.S. laws banned interracial marriage. Also, the U.S. used the concept of “mixed blood” to justify its colonialist constructions of race and power and to oppress generations of Indigenous and Black populations. This played out in the “one drop” rule denying rights to anyone with any African heritage and “blood quantum,” a contrived measurement the U.S. uses to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands and identities.

The families seen in MIXED, like so many we know, present a persistent truth: human migration is a story reiterated and shared across many histories. Yet, what does it mean to live in a family of mixed heritages, cultures, citizenships, and contexts? These families’ voices offer us a variety of views into supportive, conflicted, and complex personal relationships, offering both the intimacy of family contexts and the scope of larger societal frames. These individuals and their families impart specific vantage points on different backgrounds and cultures as lived experiences, offering their personal stories as they lay claim to the racial identities and cultural backgrounds that connect us.

Rather than the post-race rhetoric of color blindness, MIXED underlines transcultural and global identities complete with shared histories of exclusion, dispossession, and false categories that divide. MIXED doesn’t deny racial tensions, stereotypes, or experiences of exclusion, and its portraits and personal stories sometimes reflect dreams for the future. Some of its individuals voice their belief in an idealized myth of an imagined America where opportunity is available to everyone and multiple cultures live side-by-side. Yet at the same time these stories can undermine such ideals in describing personal experiences that directly counter them. Exploring these contradictions might help us to further critique our histories and the way we live our lives today.  

Photo by Guillermo Arias

Photo by Guillermo Arias

Photo by Veronica Gabriela Cárdenas

Photo by Veronica Gabriela Cárdenas

NYU Kimmel Windows | Art in Public Places

Kimmel Windows (founded in 2003) is located on LaGuardia Place and West 3rd Street just one block south of iconic Washington Square Park. The Windows exist as a unique cultural destination at the heart of New York University in historic Greenwich Village, providing space for exemplary public exhibits. These 13 ground floor vitrines offer 3 dynamic exhibitions a year. The Windows operate under the umbrella the Provost’s office, at the heart of NYU’s Art in Public Places initiative which facilitates the display of art in outdoor spaces around campus. We offer professionally curated, thoughtful, and engaging exhibitions organized by NYU graduate students, faculty, departments, and programs, resulting in a program that represents the wide range of scholarly discourse at New York University.

MIXED, LaGuardia Place (2019/2020)

MIXED, LaGuardia Place

For additional information or materials, contact:
Pamela Jean Tinnen, 347 634 2938 or pamela.jean.tinnen@nyu.edu 

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