The work of 75 artists from over 15 countries is being shown at a tough, timely exhibition looking at displacement and migration on a global scale
Last Wednesday, a photo was released of a Salvadoran man and his young daughter face down in the Rio Grande, who drowned while attempting to migrate from Mexico to Texas. This chilling shot brought yet more attention to the ongoing border dangers faced by migrants while attempting to find asylum in the US.
Its a sad day to talk about this, there arent many fairytale endings, said Massimiliano Gioni, the artistic director of New Yorks New Museum, the same day. Together with associate curator Natalie Bell, hes assembled a timely new exhibition focusing on the history of migration in America. The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement features 75 artists from over 15 countries, many who have experienced displacement firsthand. Its not exactly an uplifting exhibition, it might have to do with the spirit of the times, sadly, he added.
The exhibition, showing until 22 September at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, features work by American, Mexican, Iraqi, Moroccan and Brazilian artists, among others. It brings together the responses of artists who have shown dramatic aspects of migration, he adds. There was a tradition of how desperate those journeys were, conditions have worsened.
The fact this show is in Washington is particularly interesting, said Gioni. Im a firm believer you should go see an art show in the places they were conceived for. Its a show thats site-specific to this city.
The title of the exhibition is lifted from a poem by the 20th-century American writer Richard Wright who penned the book Native Son in 1940 who wrote the warmth of other suns in a 1945 poem entitled Black Boy. (A title of the book by the same name was released in 2010 by Isabel Wilkerson, tracing the great migration in America.)