Immigration is a concept that resonates with many Ukiah residents, and it was chosen by the board members of the Art Center Ukiah as the theme for their October exhibit.
In our complicated world, where many naturally stay in their comfort zone surrounded by familiar people, objects and ceremonies, this topic was seen as a challenge that could foster awareness and communication among local groups of people who interact rarely, if ever, with each other. other.
The population of our Ukiah Valley consists of thousands of people who have immigrated here from their native land, across borders and oceans. Some came as children with their parents, some made the trip alone as adults, and some are descended from previous generations who made the trip. These immigrants brought with them food, languages, customs, plants, insects and animals, some of which are now part of our current landscape and some of which are largely unshared.
The challenge presented to local artists made it clear that the Ukiah Art Center was looking for an expressive work that tells all sides of this story. Deliberately probing questions were presented for the attention of the artists. “What is life like for you in a new country… what have you lost and what have you gained by coming here? Was it worth leaving your native country? How was your journey and is it over? Where are you from now…are you from here or there?“
Victor Palomino, who immigrated to the United States from Colombia more than 20 years ago, is excited to show off his art. A seasoned traveler and storyteller, he uses a combination of film, journaling and visual art to help him come to terms with his own life journey. In his words, “I keep wondering what it means to be Latino. In Latin America, people identified with their country of birth… Colombian, Guatemalan, Mexican… but in the United States, I am now “Latino”. Creating art on this theme has helped me reflect on what it’s like to be Colombian, Latin American, and American, and has opened a door to understanding myself.
Victor continues: “Art is a common language. A gallery is a safe space to communicate and ask tough questions. He knows what he’s talking about, having curated art exhibits in the past featuring immigrants showing their work. He describes this current Ukiah show as a way of history repeating itself in a positive way. Victor will be in good company with other artists with roots all over the planet who want to explore and share their stories with other recent immigrants and long-time “locals”.
Another exciting feature of this show will be an altar for Día de los Muertos, created by Juan and Jackie Orozco and their family members and friends. It will occupy a place of honor in the art exhibition and will remain lit for the duration of the fair.
Juan develops this beautiful tradition that his family has carried on in their new home in the United States. He explains: “In addition to sharing our culture, we also want to maintain an identity, because it is the essence of being human. It is a sense of belonging and individualism. Juan continues with an insight into cultural universality… “Honoring and celebrating our deceased loved ones is not unique to Latin America. Other parts of the world celebrate in other ways. Maybe some of those other ways will be expressed in the show.
The opening of the first Friday of the show “Immigration” will take place on October 7 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Ukiah Art Center is located in the back space of the Corner Gallery at 201 S. State St. in Ukiah. The event is free and the whole community is invited. Live keyboard music will be provided throughout the evening by local pianist Elizabeth McDougall. There will also be a short set of guitar and vocal music by Angel Garcia, starting at 6 p.m.