IMAGES OF HOME
Trinkets, Pictures Tell Stories
The exhibit focuses on the split in identity between the artists’ feelings toward their birth countries and the U.S.
By Liz Goff
We all have images of home. Memories of our roots – where we lived as children, where we learned to communicate, to understand the value of family and heritage.
Members of South Asian Youth Action packaged their memories recently for a presentation of their “Images of Home,” on view through Sunday at the Community Gallery at the Queens Museum of Art.
Exhibits examined the South Asian youth experience, including memories of the immigration experience shared by those who participated in the presentation.
In small group discussions the youths recalled “little things” that helped them adjust to their new environment. One young woman recalled finding comfort in “trinkets,” photos and items from home that helped her maintain her identity, while beginning a new life in the United States.
Others remembered the excitement and enthusiasm they felt after “touching down” in the U.S. for the first time. “The educational and social opportunities were breathtaking,” one student said. “It was a supercharged feeling.”
Included in the presentation were memories of the immigration experience shared by youths who participated in the program – images of leaving home, arriving in a new country and assimilating into a new language, new friends, schools and culture.
Topics of discussion included how the youths merged memories of home with new memories – maintaining their “identities” while trying to fit into “new lives in a new land.”
The works examined the political climate in the United States, providing a brief look at current immigration policies, the call for change and immigration demonstrations that have taken the volatile issue onto the streets.
Participants engaged in peppered discussions with guests on immigration reform, including debates on immigration legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate. Discussions ranged from talks on a proposed guest worker program for illegal immigrants to stiffer border enforcement, parental citizenship for some illegal immigrants and the controversy surrounding amnesty for people who entered the U.S. illegally.
Youths participating in the “Images of Home” presentation were from the ARISE co-ed leadership group at SOAYA.