Crossing Borders

Many refer to America as a nation of immigrants. It is after all a country shaped by generations of people who have come here from somewhere else. Some have come seeking opportunity. Some have come seeking freedom. Some to study. Some to escape. Some against their will. It is an ever expanding diaspora phenomenon as displacement becomes a common occurrence in our increasingly unstable world. So much so, that our common thread has become our migration stories. In past generations, these were the stories of the Irish, European Jews and Italians. Today, in America, these stories are world centric.

ArtsWestchester’s exhibition Crossing Borders: Memory and Heritage in a New America, explores the artistic visions of a group of ten artists who are also immigrants or first generation Americans. Their homelands are faraway places like Iran, China and South Africa. They struggle with issues of assimilation, heritage and divided identities. The exhibition reminds us that although our paths to America were different, our narratives are the same. While our heritages are diverse, our migration stories are both dominant and similar. They echo loudly for each of us the diaspora notion that somewhere, somehow, someone in our past has crossed a border to get here. This is a shared American legacy of courage, humility and memory that binds us together in reverence of the journey that someone took on our behalf.

Crossing Borders will be on view March 17 – May 2, 2015 in the Peckham & Shenkman Galleries at ArtsWestchester. Gallery hours: Tue-Fri, 12-5pm and Sat, 12-6pm. For more info, visit artsw.org/crossingborders.

Image: Peter Sis, “The Wall: Over the Wall,” 2006

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