[Editor’s Note: This curatorial statement by Adam Chau first appeared in the exhibition catalog for ArtsWestchester’s Crossing Borders Revisited show, on view Oct. 14, 2023 to Jan. 14, 2024.]
What makes a border? Over time, geographic and cultural borders have come to define individual and group identity. Crossing Borders Revisited features artists who investigate the experience of immigrating and the act of remembering; each artist utilizes their heritage, and their artistic practice as a way of keeping their family legacy relevant as the artist continues to make their own way in a contemporary time and place. This intergenerational exhibition looks at myriad ways in which residents have come to this region. Some call it home and some continuously travel between places.
The exhibition reexamines themes initially presented in ArtsWestchester’s 2015 exhibition of a similar title, which was also supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Almost a decade later, there have been paradigm shifts as well as perennial issues that stem from migration: walls were proposed, a pandemic caused racial vilification, and identities were weaponized. With a new climate for immigration, the scope for this exhibition has expanded since 2015, prompting us to explore the answers to new questions – How do those who identify as third-generation immigrants navigate heritage one step farther from its source? How do we express multiculturalism? – through the artworks of those who are navigating and experiencing this paradox firsthand.
For this show, ArtsWestchester has commissioned three artists to create all-new site-responsive and large-scale artworks to be exhibited in its historically preserved Grand Banking Hall gallery. Siona Benjamin, Anina Major and Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong have made artworks that provide valuable insights to the political and social aspects of migration.
The invention of the border has caused so much public discourse that we are in need of artists who can shed light on how our borders drastically influence culture and livelihood. Crossing Borders Revisited is that beacon, allowing these works to showcase the complexities of 21st Century migration through identity, memory and placemaking.
– Adam Chau, Curator
Photo credit: Siona Benjamin: Amistad. A Slave Trip For A New Century, acrylic, mixed media and 22k gold leaf on wood panel, 2021 & Anina Major: Ostracons of the Atlantic, detail, 2022.