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Living in The Shadows: Underground Immigrant Communities
February 13, 2017

By: Cassidy Brown '17

New Jersey is one of the top six states with the highest number of undocumented immigrants, New Brunswick being home to many documented and undocumented immigrants. The Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities (CWAH) is presenting a group exhibition, artist discussion, and film screenings under the title "Living in the Shadows: Underground Immigrant Communities." These events, connected thematically, shed light onto the circumstances and debate over irregular migrations, and hidden and undocumented immigrant communities.
Artist have a unique view when they create their art; they provide their own point of view and a different way to reach an audience. "People coming to these events are encouraged to express themselves," says Connie Tell, director of the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities. "These events will stimulate discussion, provide resources, continue dialogue, and offer more information to people who need it." 
Featured artist of the exhibition include:
• Pam Cooper, whose piece speaks to the issues faced by children in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras who are placed in shelters while awaiting deportation hearings. 
•Sandra C. Fernandez, who reflects on migration across the United States border, and the phenomenological aesthetics of undocumented immigrants.
•CERRUCHA’s audiovisual installation focused on refugee and undocumented adult immigrants currently residing in Montreal and Mexico City. 
•Cynthia Tom’s work exploring the tragedy of human trafficking through the experiences of her own Chinese American family. 
•Lauren Everett’s photographs of LA botanicas and practioners of religions like Santa Muerte and Santeria open up discussions about these misunderstood religions. 
•Gesche Wϋrfel documents how Northern Manhattan immigrant superintendents decorate the basements of apartment buildings, where they often live, illuminating the process of immigrant adaptation to the metropolis from an intimate perspective.
In addition to theexhibition, the 2016 Peabody award winning film, Don't Tell Anyone (No le Digas a Nadie) will be screened. This film features Angy Rivera, a  24 year-old who steps out of the shadows to share her parallel journey of being undocumented and sexually abused, emerging as an activist, blogger, and advice columnist for other young people in her situation. Rivera has graduated college and is an important figure to the undocumented immigrant community, both locally and nationally. Don't Tell Anyone offers a unique experience to its viewers and provides them with an opportunity to view art as a social action. The film screening on March 30 will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker Mikaela Shwer and Angy Rivera. 
Dozens of organizations around campus are co-sponsoring this event, including the School's  Center on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC). "This series of events allows us a forum to reflect on the many and varied experiences of people from typically underrepresented communities," says Professor Judy Postmus, executive director for VAWC.
The exhibition and related events are free and open to the public. The group exhibition opened on January 17 and will run through April 7, 2017 at Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries / Douglass Library, Rutgers University. 
The reception and artist discussion will take place on Wednesday, March 1 at 5 p.m. at the Mabel Smith Douglass Room at Douglass Library. The discussion will feature three artist who will create a discussion around their work with immigration, undocumented immigrants, and the undocumented community. 
Don’t Tell Anyone (No le Digas a Nadie) film screenings will take place on:
Wednesday, March 22 at 4 p.m. at Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers - Newark 
Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m.  at Ludwig Global Village Living Learning Center, Rutgers - New Brunswick
Tuesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. at New Brunswick Free Public Library. 
Co-sponsors: Art Library-RUL; Center for Latin American Studies; Center for Latino Arts and Culture (CLAC); Center on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC); Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA); Department of Art History; Department of Visual Arts-Mason Gross School of the Arts; Global Village-Douglass Residential College; Institute for Research on Women (IRW); Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL); Lasos America Unida; Margery Somers Foster Center-RUL; New Brunswick Free Public Library; New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ); New Labor; Office of Diversity and Inclusion; Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers-Newark; Rutgers Child Advocacy Clinic, Rutgers Law School-Newark; UndocuRutgers.
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