Video Installations Showing Migrant Experience at Center of ‘Americas’ Exhibition


Courtesy of Pixabay

‘We Are Here, Here We Are: A Celebration of the Americas’ features among many artists, the local artist Francis Almendarez whose work takes viewers on a journey similar to the travels of a modern-day migrant.

The San Jacinto College Central Campus art gallery is kicking off a new exhibition Oct. 10 featuring the work of multiple artists in a showcase titled We Are Here, Here We Are: A Celebration of the Americas.

Professor of Art History, and Central Campus Gallery Director, Carmen Champion said the show dovetails two College initiatives: the Fine Arts Council’s event series featuring programming with the theme “Celebrate the Americas” and the Hispanic Heritage Committee’s commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Champion said the exhibition features many artists from diverse backgrounds that highlight the interconnectedness of the countries of North and South America.

The showcase includes a three-part video installation from a local artist, Francis Almendarez, and incorporates music, storytelling, and time-sequenced video footage. The montages take the viewer on a journey through unknown locations, much like modern-day migrants might experience as they travel from one location to the next. The artist is recreating the experience of an acquaintance, a second-generation American whose family frequently moved in search of work.

Along with Almendarez, the exhibition includes participants from outside Houston, which Champion noted, poses certain difficulties.

“Working with artists from across the nation and abroad is always a challenge,” she said. “You hope everything arrives on time and in one piece!”

Champion started working on the idea for the show in the spring and said she hopes it challenges viewers to think critically about the world around them and re-evaluate their perspective of the Americas.

“I hope to reframe the context of what it means to be an American and to find ways to celebrate the confluence of the myriad of cultures that make up the two continents,” Champion added.

Meanwhile, she said she hopes to continue bringing in celebrated artists and further expand the gallery’s reach to the larger San Jac community.

“The visibility and reputation of the gallery is a central focus for me in hopes that I can bring more exciting work into the college for students to experience,” Champion said. “But also make the gallery a place for all residents of the City of Pasadena to enjoy.”

You Are Here, Here You Are: A Celebration of the Americas will be on display from Oct. 10 until Nov. 6 in the art gallery (Room 119) in the East Classroom building (C4) on the Central Campus.