Making Migration Visible

Making Migration Visible

The heated national dialogue about immigration and the growing presence of new immigrants in Maine have given rise to an unprecedented effort by artists and more than 70 local organizations across the state to challenge stereotypes and assumptions about migration. Spearheaded by the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, Maine, the effort begins October 5 with the opening of Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks & Pathways, an exhibition of works by artists working in diverse media, many of whom have personal migration experiences.

Jason De Leon is an archaeologist working with photographer Michael Wells to recover, document, and archive objects left behind by migrants in the Sonoran Desert.

Mohamad Hafez focuses his work on instruments of mobility for Syrian refugees such as life-rafts and suitcases.

Patricia Tinajero and Edwige Charlot draw on botanical references, soil, and water to explore conceptions of rootedness and heritage.

Daniel Quintanilla and United YES make collaborative virtual reality films about immigrant life in Lewiston that they showcase in public forums to invite community conversations about multiculturalism.

Other artists include Ahmed Alsoudani, Caroline Bergvall, Eric Gottesman, Romuald Hazoume, Ranu Mukherjee, and Yu-Wen Wu.
The exhibition, part of a statewide collaboration that could serve as a model for concerned communities across the country, is organized by Erin Hutton, Director of Exhibitions and Special Projects at MECA. The 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 the author of Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine.

Accompanying the exhibition are a symposium on art and politics on November 2, and more than 50 parallel programs and partner exhibitions at local libraries, theaters, and exhibition spaces throughout Maine—including the PMA. The local events present related art, film, poetry, panel discussions, and lectures. For a schedule of events, visit
Among these events artist, and Hiroshima Art Prize recipient, Krzysztof Wodiczko presents Xenology: Instruments and Projections hosted by the PMA. Click here for more information.


Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
October 31, 2018
Director of Communications

Graeme is a Maine native who, after ten years living in New York and the west coast, decided to come back and set up shop in Portland. In addition to the PMA, he's held positions at GQ, Rogues Gallery, and Might & Main. He lives in Yarmouth, where he spends most of his free time with his daughters, Ramona and Maude.