Mirame: Look at Me is social justice art at its best. It is a collaboration of artists and storytellers featuring Latino immigrants who live in Minnesota. Each work includes a large photo of the protagonist, a mask that hides their true character and their story. The mask juts out from the photo. When you look at the picture full on, you can easily obscure the face of protagonist with the mask. The effect is fantastic. Each story is scripted and hangs behind the photo; there are footprints leading the patron to the story. It’s sneakily interactive. You have to take the time, to get closer to the work to see beyond the mask and meet the actual person.
The stories are touching and reveal the duality of life back in the old home and the challenges and success of the new home in America. It exhibit highlights how hard it is to leave your home of origin and how difficult it can be stay here, because of changing policies, because of negative attitudes. Mostly each story is the story of a good person trying the best they can. The kind of person most of us want as a neighbor.
The exhibit is peppered with immigration facts – like a roomful of social justice #immigrationrights Tweets. Bite-sized bits of info.
This is a traveling show. They didn’t have a future date yet. My hope is that they can find a way to show the exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair – maybe at the Fine Arts Building. There I think they will reach patrons who might not otherwise hear these stories. Patrons who haven’t had the opportunity to look beyond the masks.