Emigration-Immigration-Migration Photography Exhibition Opens January 20

Claire Ertl, Director of Marketing & Public Relations
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Kaitlyn Zurcher, Manager of Communications
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Emigration-Immigration-Migration Photography
Exhibition Opens January 20

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania (Thursday, January 4, 2018) – Emigration-Immigration-Migration: Five Photographic Perspectives, a civic engagement project that documents the experiences of multiple generations of immigrants and their descendants, will be on view at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art from January 20 through April 22, 2018.
Working under the premise that “we all come from somewhere,” Emigration-Immigration-Migration highlights the work of five Pittsburgh photographers—Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Nate Guidry, Lynn Johnson and Annie O’Neill—whose images serve as a lens through which to consider the broader American experience. By exploring the central role that immigration has played in the formation of American identity, in sustaining the economy, and in the enrichment of cultural diversity, the resulting images aim to create a space for civil, constructive conversation about belonging and cultural heritage today.
“Immigration is a vital part of what makes this country great. For southwestern Pennsylvania in particular, we think of all those who came to work in the steel mills and mines from all over the world,” said Chief Curator Barbara Jones. “In this way, the exhibition, which takes a contemporary viewpoint, relates to the industrial scenes in our collection that celebrate the Big Steel Era in this region.”
The Westmoreland’s exhibition—one of a series of exhibitions, events and conversations in the region—began as a project of The Documentary Works, a group of professional photographers documenting social and environmental issues. Community partners include the American Jewish Museum, City of Asylum, Repair the World and the Union Project.
“The power of groups like The Documentary Works is that they can approach complex topics from multiple perspectives,” said co-curator Laura Domencic. “This project reveals the vulnerable and celebratory moments of individuals and families making a new home in an unfamiliar place.”
Domencic and co-curator Brian Cohen sought to add to the conversation around emigration (leaving one’s homeland), immigration (coming to a new country) and migration (the process of moving), and how each one makes this country what it is.
“This project is based on the simple premise that we have all come from somewhere, whether in our own lifetimes or that of our ancestors. Our aim is to open up a friendly space within which we can all have a conversation about American migration stories,” said Cohen, who, in addition to serving as co-curator, has his photography featured in the exhibition.
“We have had our eyes on the work of these excellent photographers, who work as a group on selected themes, for several years,” said The Richard M. Scaife Director/CEO Judith H. O’Toole. “This topic seemed very timely and in line with one of our strategic goals of uniting the human experience by being responsive to current issues and supporting diversity in its many forms.”
The exhibition catalog features essays by two Public Radio journalists. Erika Beras presents interviews with African American Pittsburgh residents who found their way to the city during the Great Migration over fifty years ago, providing a look into growing up in the segregated South, and the changes they experienced in moving north. Reid Frazier’s essay uses an historical context to reveal the hopes, dreams, and challenges of immigrants in a new country where their welcome is tempered by the fears and prejudices they encounter.
Beginning February 9, the Museum’s Robertshaw Gallery will feature an interactive exhibition organized in conjunction with Emigration-Immigration-Migration called Tell Us Your Immigration Story. This exhibition is designed to grow over time, highlighting the stories of community members and their ancestors through writing, audio and photographs. Individuals who are interested in contributing a written narrative, brief oral history and/or photographs are encouraged to email tellusyourstory@thewestmoreland.org.
Tell Us Your Immigration Story will also feature Immigration Journeys: Old and New, a series of videos sponsored by the Allegheny County Library Association and produced at the Whitehall Public Library, in which long-term residents and newly arrived refugees and immigrants tell their stories.
Funding for Emigration-Immigration-Migration has been generously provided by The Fisher Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation; Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation; Hillman Foundation; The Heinz Endowments; and Opportunity Fund. At The Westmoreland, funding has been generously provided by the Hillman Exhibition Fund of The Westmoreland Museum of American Art. Tell Us Your Immigration Story is made possible by the generous support of The Fine Foundation.
Related Events for Emigration-Immigration-Migration: Five Photographic Perspectives
Emigration-Immigration-Migration Opening Reception
Saturday January 20 > 6:30-8pm |
Enjoy light bites and live music, and be one of the first to view this photography exhibition documenting the American immigrant experience.
We All Come From Somewhere
Wednesday, February 7 > 6-7pm | RSVP
In this panel discussion, meet the photographers who have captured the American immigrant experience featured in our Emigration-Immigration-Migration exhibition and explore how the journey of today’s new arrivals compares to that of long established, naturalized citizens.
Tell Us Your Immigration Story Opening Reception
Friday, February 9 > 5-7pm during Art on Tap | Tickets
This interactive exhibition, organized in conjunction with Emigration-Immigration-Migration, will grow over time, highlighting YOUR stories through writing, audio and photographs. In addition, we will feature Immigration Journeys: Old and New, a series of videos sponsored by the Allegheny County Library Association and produced at the Whitehall Public Library, in which long-term residents and newly arrived refugees and immigrants tell their stories. This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of The Fine Foundation.
City of Asylum
Saturday, March 3 > 1-2:30pm |
Learn about the journeys of three literary writers whose lives were endangered by political, cultural or economic conflict before making new homes in the United States. Osama Alomar from Syria, Israel Centeno from Venezuela and Tuhin Das from Bangladesh will share their stories of exile and perform excerpts of their work. This event is presented in partnership with City of Asylum.
Many Voices, One Dream
Saturday, March 31 > 1-2pm | RSVP
Throughout our history, political oppression, famine, violence and religious persecution have motivated people to make their way to our shores. Learn what it means to be part of the new American Dream through the experiences of individuals who have come here recently and others who, once new, are now established in our society.
Repair the World
Wednesday, April 11 > 6:30-9pm | RSVP
Join us for dinner and discussion in collaboration with Repair the World: Pittsburgh as we dig into immigration and identity in Southwestern Pennsylvania. After exploring Emigration-Immigration-Migration, settle in for a night of delicious food and good conversation about these important topics.