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U.S. Immigrants Celebrated in 6,000-Book Art Exhibit

On Tuesday, July 24, we went to the Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch, to view "The American Library" exhibit, part of the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

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Created by Mr. Yinka Shonibare, an international artist born in the United Kingdom and raised there as well as Lagos, Nigeria, the program notes state: "The American Library is composed of approximately 6,000 books, each wrapped in colorful African wax cloth, a prominent feature of the artist's work. Stamped in gold across each spine is the name of a first or second immigrant to the United States who has contributed significantly to a particular field of art, science or American culture or a dissenter who opposed such ideas."

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In addition to the books, there were computer monitors where visitors could write something about their own history pertaining to immigration. As such there were testimonials by people whose families, or themselves, immigrated to the United States from such countries as the Philippines, Hungary, Sweden, Haiti, and Venezuela.

Also posted on the computers were videos containing excerpts of speeches/interviews/conferences with political leaders such as the former President Barack Obama and Donald Trump, in which they talked about various aspects of immigration. Included therein was a 2011 interview with former President George W. Bush, who spoke of how immigrants "rejuvenate" the United States and the need for genuine comprehensive immigration reform, even if this put him at odds with his own political party. After all, President Bush reminded viewers that he was raised in Texas where people know the importance of "faith, family, hard work, and commitment to service."

This incredible exhibit runs through September 30, 2018. FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is an exhibition comprised of artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs that launched its inaugural edition this month (July 2018) in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison

Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC

 

Aimee Jannsohn