Free Public Opening Reception is Friday, October 5th, 5-8 pm, at Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine

A collaboration between artists and community groups, the exhibit seeks to change the conversation on immigration

Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks & Pathways opens Friday, October 5th at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, Maine. The Exhibition Opening Reception will be held from 5–8pm. On hand will be artists featured in the show, many of whom have personal migration experiences, and many members of the 70 community groups holding affiliate events statewide over the next three months.

“Forging a dialogue on immigration both at home and around the world is essential to our collective well being,” said Laura Freid, President, Maine College of Art. “I am proud that Making Migration Visible has been spearheaded by our artists in collaboration with community groups across the state. Now more than ever, artists are driving the change we need to see in the world.”

The exhibition features the works of diverse artists, many of whom have personal migration experiences. Artists include: Jason De León, an archaeologist working with photographer Michael Wells to recover, document, and archive objects left behind by migrants in the Sonoran desert; Mohamad Hafez, who focuses his work on instruments of mobility for Syrian refugees, such as life-rafts and suitcases; María Patricia Tinajero and Edwige Charlot ’10, artists who draw on botanical references, soil and water to explore conceptions of rootedness and heritage; Daniel Quintanilla/United YES/Yarn Corporation, a collaboration making virtual reality films about immigrant life in Maine. Other artists include: Ahmed Alsoudani ’05, Caroline Bergvall, Eric Gottesman, Romuald Hazoumè, Ranu Mukherjee, and Yu-Wen Wu. (See artists’ bios here.)

Events associated with the Making Migration Visible initiative range from art exhibits, film screenings and poetry readings to lectures and panel discussions. (See a full list of events here.) They include: a Symposium on Art + Politics at ICA at MECA on November 2nd; six film screenings and panel discussions at Museum LA in Lewiston; a screening and food pairing at Frontier Theatre and Café in Brunswick; and a presentation of Refuge*Malja at Portland Stage. In addition, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland will host a virtual reality pop up of work by Daniel Quintanilla/UnitedYES/Yarn Corporation, and the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project/ACLU in Portland will participate in a panel discussion on current political context of migration policy.

“The mission of the ICA at MECA is to showcase thought provoking contemporary art and provide an outlet for critical discourse and discussion. We are dedicated to engaging conversation around global migration and mobility,” said Erin Hutton, show organizer and Director of Exhibitions and Special Projects at MECA. Show co-curators are Julie Poitras Santos, artist, writer and Assistant Professor in the MFA program at MECA, and Catherine Besteman, Professor of Anthropology at Colby College, who has conducted extensive fieldwork in South Africa and Somalia and is author of Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine.

Artwork Credit (header)
Mohamad Hafez, Desperate Cargo, 2016, plaster, paint, float, found objects, MP3 media player, rusted metal, lighting, 144” x 48” x 40”

About Maine College of Art (MECA)
Founded in 1882, Maine College of Art is located in the heart of downtown Portland’s thriving Arts District. MECA offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 11 studio majors (including Animation & Game Art), Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art, Master of Arts in Teaching, Pre-College, and Continuing Studies. Institutes at MECA include the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies at MECA, which offers a graduate certificate, and the Institute for Contemporary Art at MECA, which is open free to the public Wednesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm, Thursday, 11am–7pm, Friday, 11am–5pm, and First Friday Art Walk until 8pm.