Since I returned from my vacation in Mexico, I’ve been busy in my studio creating artwork for my Immigration Series. Digging into my project just after spending a few weeks outside of the U.S. and in a country overflowing with vibrant color and culture feels fitting.
As a starting point, I’ve elected to create several pieces representing my personal immigration journey. Expressing my own remembrances through my art has been both challenging and wonderful as my own immigration story is one of both loss and opportunity.
I was 10 years old the first time I came to the U.S. with my family. My parents decided to move to the U.S. because the economic and political situation in Argentina was in upheaval. But leaving meant saying goodbye to my extended family; grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and many friends in Argentina. I also left behind my school, my classmates, everything known to me until that time… foods, customs, my native language… everything I had ever known.
As a child, I recall it felt hardest to leave our close-knit family. Growing up, I cherished the summer months when my extended family would gather at my grandparent’s home in Mar del Plata for the summers.
My recollections of the actual journey and arrival in the U.S. come to me in isolated images. I recall the boat we took – the “Delta Line” – a passenger-cargo ship connecting South America to New Orleans. The trip took about 25 days, but we got to stop and visit many new places. I think that my favorite at that time was Barbados. I had never seen water so clear and blue/ turquoise. Rio & Santos in Brazil was also amazing. So many things to see.
I recall the fun my sisters and I had on the boat, the party crossing the Equator and just hanging out all day. We met so many wonderful people, all on a new journey just like us.
All we saw all day was the water below.
I do remember seeing the buildings upon our arrival in New Orleans though I think we were there for only a few hours before we went on another trip, this time on a greyhound bus in the pouring rain through the night to St. Louis. MO. where my dad was waiting for us.
The first pieces I have created for my series depict a few of these first memories, including my very first complete piece called “Journey”.
“Journey” has also been selected to be included in a juried exhibition called “Anything But Flat.” The challenge for this year’s show was “to create a work that has a tangible, physical presence.” The exhibition, at the Castle Hill Main Gallery in MA, will occur during the 13th International Conference – May 30th – June 6th. I am honored to have been chosen as an exhibitor.
I hope you have enjoyed this first installation of this series. I look forward to continuing to share it with you as it unfolds and I’d love to hear from others who have immigration stories to share too. If you have one, leave a comment or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. My dream is to make this series a diverse and expansive one.