This month our staff, together with CultureStrike, gathered in El Paso to learn about how immigration policies impact border communities and explore how artists can make change these realities. We visited the border wall and a sanctuary space, and heard from frontline advocates, border artists and influencers. We developed ideas to shift the narrative around immigration toward one that recognizes our shared humanity. We’ve highlighted some of the Border Visions participants’ work at the intersection of arts and activism below, alongside work by other Creative Change and Communications Institute alumni.
The Natural History Museum and the Lummi Nation’s new exhibit Whale People: Protectors of the Sea uses the figure of the killer whale to raise awareness about environmental collapse. The exhibit features a 3,000-pound carved whale totem, a head-to-toe video installation and short film with underwater footage of the orca, and interviews with elders of the Lummi Nation. Beka Economopoulous (CC ’12, ‘16) is a co-founder of the travelling The Natural History Museum and was named a 2018 Roddenbury Fellow.
Border Visions participant Kimberley Drew was interviewed on NPR’s What’s Good With Stretch and Bobbito. She discusses her previous role at the Whitney Museum, her earliest art memories, and most importantly, how to make art spaces more accessible for everyone.
Our partners Studio REV, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Caring Across Generations were nominated for the 2019 Visible Award for their film CareForce. The film was an 8-year process and is part of the public art project CareForce that speaks to the experiences of caregivers. It takes the form of a travelogue as artist Marisa Morán Jahn and her son Choco meet with caregivers, nannies, and housekeepers and explore how the theme of care cuts through every other issue of our time. Congratulations on your nomination!
The Cut featured actress and Border Visions participant Indya Moore in its November cover story. Indya Moore uses her platform as a lead actress in “Pose” to advocate for trans rights and role model self-love for all. On screen, Moore is making history as a main character in the show with the largest trans cast ever. Off stage, she fights ignorance and trans erasure, for example by protesting against the Department of Health and Human Services draft memo narrowly defining gender to the gender binary.
Our partner, the Domestic Worker’s Alliance has contributed to the Families Belong Together project, Coloring Without Borders. The children’s coloring book includes beautiful artwork from dozens of artist/activists. All the proceeds will go toward efforts to reunite families who are still separated. The coloring book will also be given to children who have been separated from their families as a gesture of solidarity and comfort.
Janos Marton (CI’17) of the ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign was a guest on the podcast Decarceration Nation to discuss the midterm election results. He provided his take on moving youth off Rikers Island, restoring voting rights to formerly incarcerated people in Florida, Louisiana's Amendment 2, Marsey’s laws passages in six states, and new laws surrounding marijuana.
Thanushka Yakupitiyage, an immigrant rights activist, cultural organizer, and DJ, joined us in El Paso for the Border Visions. Listen to her mix featured on Fader.