Above: Viewers at the opening reception for Becoming American: Teenagers & Immigration at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma on Saturday, March 22. Photo by Mizu Sugimura.
Powerful black-and-white portraits of young immigrants hailing from around the globe, with highly impacting text in the subject's own words comprise the traveling show Becoming American: Teenagers & Immigration, opened last weekend at the Washington State History Museum.
The traveling exhibition was developed for circulation by the Smithsonian Institution and is be available for public viewing at the museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue, through June 1, 2008.
Featuring the work of professional photographer Barbara Beirne, the exhibition hopes to give viewers a window into the complexity and diversity of today's immigrant experience through the eyes of fifty-nine teenagers who were photographed and interviewed in their own neighborhoods and communities around the nation.
In addition to Beirne's arresting photos, the exhibition also includes the opportunity to view the short film In Our Own Words, a sometimes dramatic and memorable collection of interviews and recollections with a sampling of adult members drawn from the local Asian-Pacific Islander community.
Left: Visitors examine entry panels at the newly-opened photo exhibition. Photo by Mizu Sugimura.
The film made its debut at the opening of the show the evening of Saturday, March 22. It was developed in partnership with Tacoma's Asia Pacific Cultural Center and Bates Technical College.
Both Beirne's thoughtful portraits and locally produced film act as catalysts to stimulate further thought and reflection as to what it means to be an immigrant in today's America. Viewers are encouraged to explore their own family norms, how culture and diversity flow in their families of origin and how both individual and national views on immigration and cultural diversity possibly been impacted by the events of 9/11.
(Author's Note: This blog originally appeared at Liquid Muse-NW.)