DREAMs Deferred

Oregon Historical Society
1200 S.W. Park Ave.
Portland, Oregon.
Jan. 10, 2020, through Oct 11, 2020


Image Credit: Steve Pavey, Hope In Focus

The Immigrant Story invites you to visit DREAMs Deferred, our newest exhibition, opening Jan. 10, 2020, at the Oregon Historical Society.

DREAMs Deferred represents a collaboration between The Immigrant Story and acclaimed Portland photographer, Jim Lommasson. The exhibition is designed to amplify the voices of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America who came to the United States as children or young adults and grew up navigating school, work and social life in a country that does not recognize them as citizens. 

For the exhibition, The Immigrant Story produced short-form narrative accounts documenting both the obstacles confronting those who grow up undocumented in the United States and the inspiration and resilience those obstacles can cultivate. Profiles of these individuals and details regarding their journeys are accompanied by portraits in the hopes that the viewer will feel an immediate and personal connection with the subject.

In collaboration with The Immigrant Story, Lommasson extends his visual storytelling project, What We Carried, to now include subjects who crossed the U.S. southern border — sometimes without proper official papers. Participants write directly on the photograph of an item they carried throughout their journey to the United States, allowing them to tell their own story in their own language and with their own hands about the most personal object in their possession during their journey.

The combination of story, portrait and treasured item invites viewers to look into that person’s eyes, read intimate details about the subject’s life, and to see firsthand a meaningful artifact from the person’s life history. The result is the recognition that behind the terms “undocumented immigrant” or “alien” lies an individual with a story. 

In partnership with the Five Oaks Museum, visitors to the exhibit can share their written and illustrated stories of arrival in a safe space. These stories can be displayed in an adjacent mini exhibit, shared on social media, or anonymously donated to The Immigrant Story archive.

DREAMs Deferred will run from Jan. 10, 2020, through October 11, 2020, at the Oregon Historical Society, which is located at 1200 S.W. Park Ave. in Portland, Oregon.

The DREAMs Deferred exhibition is made possible by the generous contribution of the Zidell Family Foundation.

Sankar Raman

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