Immigrant Justice Youth Night
May 18, 2017

  • Artist Aliza Nisenbaum discussing her work, April 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • Participants create banners inspired by Biennial artist Cauleen Smith’s work, April 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • Participants display their banner, April 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • A tour of the 2017 Biennial, April 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • Participants explore Samara Golden’s installation, April 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • In the galleries, April 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • The evening concluded with a “Know Your Rights” training led by Unlocal, April 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

  • Policy changes explained by Unlocal, April 2017. Photograph by Filip Wolak

What does it mean to be an immigrant in the United States today? This question is explored by 2017 Biennial artist Aliza Nisenbaum. Most of the subjects of Nisenbaum’s paintings are undocumented immigrants whom she met while teaching classes at Immigrant Movement International in Flushing, Queens. She composes her paintings from life and has maintained close friendships with many of her sitters. Her representations depict a deeply personal account of the immigrant experience.

With these paintings as both inspiration and backdrop, Whitney Education hosted Immigrant Justice Youth Night on April 13. Developed in collaboration with community partners The Door and Unlocal, the program provided an opportunity for resource sharing and art making dedicated to immigrant and undocumented communities.

Throughout the evening, Nisenbaum, herself an immigrant from Mexico, discussed her work in the galleries. Tours of the 2017 Biennial exhibition were offered in both Spanish and English. Participants learned about recent threats to basic protections for immigrants and made political art of their own.

By Anna Kay, Assistant to Family Programs

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