SITE Santa Fe and the Global Refugee Crisis

General / People / Places / February 14, 2020

SITE Santa Fe is upping its game when it comes to the tragic and deadly flow of refugees worldwide.

“We want to call attention to this crisis, and I think that artists have a particular power to focus our attention, and to create greater understanding and empathy,” says chief curator Irene Hoffman.”There’s a powerful quality in great art.”

Never an institution to shrink from a challenge, SITE soon will display, in its new digs by SHoP, an exhibition called “Displaced: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis.” It will focus on human migrations and displacements of the past, present and future.

“As the information and images of the global refugee crisis hit a peak several years ago, there was more media attention,” she says.”We started to see at the news and images from Syria and Europe.”

So in the exhibition, with works in a range of media, artists from around the globe will ask us to witness the highest levels of human displacement on record, and imagine futures where migration is essential for survival.

“Artists have been doing work in response, and are making the issues more accessible,” she says.”There is art that stays in the lane of activism and is successful as such.”

The show will include the work of 12 internationally acclaimed artists – Ai Weiwei among them – and is accompanied by programs that offer accessible entry points to experiencing and understanding the global refugee crisis.

“There’s a range of work, some of it hard to look at, that’s direct and assaulting,” she says. “But some is also beautiful and poetic work that calls attention to the power of art to transform and reach people where they are.”

It may be perceived as a global issue, but it’s regional too, for states like New Mexico and Arizona. And it has currency and implications after massive fires in California and Australia.

Artists – and museums like SITE Santa Fe – are in a one-of-a-kind position for consciousness-raising. “People will come in and see it through the lens of artists,” says assistant curator Brandee Caoba. “They’ll walk away with an understanding that it’s local and global and it affects us all – and it will create compassion.”

The exhibition opens on March 21 and runs through Labor Day.

For more, go here.

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Michael Welton




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