The Immigrant Art Journal is a digital space for Auraria students to describe their or their families’ immigration experience through various forms of art. Submissions may include anything that we can reproduce on this page: drawings and other visual art, poetry, narration and story-telling, photos of sculptures, or videos, and can be about any topic related to immigration:
movement of people, families, and individuals
the physical journey or its outcome
family, neighbors, and community
adjusting to a new life, "living in two worlds"
the strength of families and immigrant communities
Students, faculty, and staff on the Auraria campus are equally invited to provide submissions. With enough submissions, we hope to turn this digital collection into a printed journal in the future - stay tuned!
Please refer to the "Contact Us" form below if you have questions or if you have pieces to submit!
"What's your story?"
-Italu Ramos Hernandez, 2020
"A great way for the world to see what is going on in the world is not only by listening to what is going on but to also have a visual representation of what it is. A photograph can speak so many words. Family is a word that can mean something different for many. Family to me means unity and love regardless of legal status; all families should be together and should not have to hide from anyone or anything."
Title: In-between (2020-1)
Medium: Collage with original relief and monotype prints.
Size: paper 16" x 14" (image: approx. 9" x 8")
"Description: Ever since I moved to the U.S. from Japan, I feel as though my identity has been sifting between the dominant culture of my everyday life here and the core Japanese culture that shaped me growing-up. The longer I live here, the more I adapt to this culture and feel more American, but also the more I miss Japan. This emotional tension is highly salient for me and, while I feel as though I have the best of both worlds, I also feel that I will never truly belong in either place."
"A painting/drawing that represents me."
History of Adobo (Video Essay): https://vimeo.com/296811770
"A video essay about food, and the erasure or displacement of its origins as a result of Spanish colonization."
"As recently as July 3rd/4th, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines signed the Anti-Terrorism bill that essentially inhibits the exercise of free speech. This newly passed law is vague in its verbiage, allowing for the Philippine government to label anyone a terrorist if they are critical of the government; this includes sharing memes on social media.
My parents, being dual citizens of both the United States and the Philippines do not want to express any ill will, and therefore keep quiet about government issues, here and in the motherland.
For me, being a United States citizen, if I were to choose to go visit the Philippines, I could be arrested for 24 days without notice, due to my critical stance against Duterte, as I believe him to be another iteration of Martial Law, just as the deceased Ferdinand Marcos (and his edifice-complex-obsessed wife, Imelda) enacted Martial Law from 1972 until its end in 1986; my parents lived their lives as pre-pubescent teens to young adults under this government.
In "Mourning Two Countries That Will Never Love Me Back” I subvert the American and Philippine flags, and combine them into my self-portrait. I realize I will never be Filipino enough, and I will never be American enough. I don’t have a diaspora community. It seems all of them live in California or Hawaii, as a consequence of labor migration movements."
"First originated at El Salvador, came to blossom at Colorado."
Roses without words
INTRO: The worst day of my life was my first day of school in another country, where they have a different culture and language. I remember my frustration that day. I couldn't communicate. I couldn't say anything, share with, or understand others. I was like a plant, alive but unable to speak.
He estado caminando lejos de casa
Y nadie me acompañaba
No pude gritar cuando los monstruos me encontraron
En la orilla de la montana
me acorralaron y me amenazaron
Con falsas burlas me aterrorizaron
La soledad se convirtió en mi mejor compañera
Siempre me alcanzaba aunque corriera
Ella me susurro cosas imposibles de contar
difícil de olvidar
Y facil de recordar
Unos cuantos nuevos amigos me tocaron
Y me salvaron el corazón
Una fuerte familia me revivió
No puedes imaginar el dolor detrás de una persona
Aunque sigo sonriendo
No significa que no esté sufriendo
La historia difícil de borrar
Inalcanzable al tocar
Recuerda que se toca con delicadeza
Las palabras hieren más
Que la espinas de una rosa.
-Drawing by Diana Payan
I have been running hundreds of miles away from home
feeling all alone
I couldn't scream when the monsters found me
On the corner of a mountain
Loneliness became my best companion
Giant like a canyon
She whispered to me
Things that I’m not supposed to think
Some new good friends no need of names
And a strong family caught me
Before going down in flames
Memories are roots hard to die
Is not water in its petals
We never know how much pain is behind someone
You can touch
But be careful with the thorns
Roses don’t have words
End: An immigrant faces more than language barriers. The cultural challenges like adaptation, victims of discrimination, isolation, and loneliness are dangerous components for the damage on emotional and mental health. Immigrants: We are survivors of unspeakable battles.
"The New Great: We Are Them, They Are Us"
Title: "The New Great: We Are Them, They Are Us"
Size: 18" x 24"
Medium: Gel pen, Chalk, colored pencil, Ink on Paper
In honor of Immigrant Heritage Month in 2020, as commission for the I Stand WIth Immigrants initiative powered by FWD.us I created the original mixed media artwork to celebrate immigrant heritage undercurrent that is our America and to commemorate the often unrecognized and underappreciated immigrant essential unsung hero workers behind the scenes to help keep our country running the during Coronavirus epidemic.
How we treat each other is based not only on our interpersonal interactions, but on how social and political structures inform our opinions of people and subsequently how we treat or mistreat them.
We are all part of a collective species sharing one global platform where margins are consistently being negotiated and contested. As a DACA recipient, today I physically find myself on the other side of the line, struggling to keep my memories afloat. You have made it clear that I’m an “Other” but I refuse to be erased. This is my position as an immigrant and refugee yet I still share the same vision of water on the road as anyone else.
(Title of artwork) aims to challenge the notions that keep and empower marginalized people in the margins. I sought to create urban archetypes of immigrant workers as hero's, kings and queens devoid of the hateful rhetoric surrounding immigrants presented to us by government and media. The hollow nature of the figures without face invites the viewer to mirror themselves in the humanness inside all of us into the image, to reach beyond cultural origins and invoke connectivity in the very sameness that we share.
The promised mirage of the American Dream and the impenetrable glass wall divides us in reaching the green utopia on the other side. In the sum of our struggles, sacrifices, and defiance as immigrants - home remains inside, freedom in mind and within the resilience of the human spirit.
This work is a call for coexistence, for an ideal world in which individuals can unite in celebration of our distinctions and of our common humanity.
Have a submission or question? Reach out to us!
Lietuva – Colorado (Video Essay): https://youtu.be/zpLwDRme9h8
All original footage.
Film locations include Lithuania, Colorado, and Wyoming.
Music by moow: https://soundcloud.com/moow-beatmaker/hate-you
"To many immigrants, the concept of home is always in limbo. We’re an immigrant in our resident country, and an emigrant in our native land. In life that feels like it’s in constant transit, home becomes less of a place, and more of an emotion or a memory.
When I think of home, I don’t search for a place anymore. I search for a feeling of familiarity and try to find nostalgia in places I’ve never been before. In this short video I embrace that search, blending footage from Lithuania and Colorado I’ve shot over the years. While these places are thousands of miles away, with time I’ve found the feeling of home in both."