The migratory process can be understood as a type of human displacement, a source of physical and psychological separation for the individual. People migrate for many reasons, in search of better lives and opportunities, to provide for their families, and to escape war and oppression. Yet this decision comes, many times, at the cost of separation for an indefinite amount of time. With this project, I am interested in focusing on personal narratives, as expressed through portraits and letters.
Letters from My Exile is a participatory art project that pairs portraits and letters that tell the story of people who have endured tremendous sacrifice in their quest for a better life. Addressed to family members, the letters talk about forced family separation and feelings of distance and loss experience by migrants. The project explores the core concept of family through distance, memory and absences as experienced by immigrants in NYC, who are unable to return to their country of origin and of people that have endured a forced family separation cause by immigration policies.
The photographs are printed on regular paper and then transferred to canvas using the acrylic lift transfer process. This artistic process also becomes part of the concept by revealing the act of migration itself; the transfer of images from one medium to another, serves as a metaphor for the process of individuals migrating from one place to another. The final image endures many changes, as does one individual moving to a different country.
When immigration is discussed in contemporary political news, people are seen as percentages, statistics, and policies. Letters from My Exile offers a personal alternative to the representations of immigration in the mass media.