Out of the Shadows: Undocumented and Unafraid

Out of the Shadows: Undocumented and Unafraid explores the doubling of identity experienced by undocumented Latino youth, being at once visible and invisible.

"Reflections II/Invisible Blue II" - When a visitor looks into the gallery mirror, a camera records his/her image in normal colors but records the space around the mirror in a Prussian blue negative. The combined image is projected on an adjacent wall, allowing visitors to envision the kind of split lives that undocumented immigrants experience everyday.

Installation shots at Levine Museum of the New South

"Reflections/Invisible Blue I” - These double portraits re-enact the youth’s coming out as undocumented immigrants. The individuals looking in the mirror (on the left) are visible in their invisibility, the way the rest of the world sees them (the Prussian blue negative suggests infrared imagery of immigrants at border crossings). The unmodified image in the mirror (on the right) represents the way the Latino youth would like to be seen – just like anybody else, without the filter of stereotypes or being dismissed because of their ethnicity.

"Self-Wanted II” - Working from smaller versions of the life-size photos in Reflections/Invisible Blue, Immigrant Youth Forum, and United 4 The Dream members created monoprint self-portraits. This technique, like sunprints, requires few supplies, can be taught to others in the movement, provides rich images, and can potentially be used on signs or tee shirts during public events.

Self-Wanted I - monoprint

"Self-Wanted I" - The sunprint portraits of Immigrant Youth Forum and United 4 The Dream members are based on closely cropped photo-portraits, enlarged and printed on adhesive fabric. The Prussian blue, infrared-like color suggests the transformation as Latino immigrants are stripped of any legal rights when they cross into the U.S. The “self-wanted” title challenges the youth’s illegal status as they publicize their own images, “coming out” with all the attendant risks.

Undocumented Community Identification Cards: At the opening reception at the Fredric Jameson Gallery, members of the undocumented community issued identification cards for admission to the gallery, reversing control: IYF members documented legal citizens, allowing them to experience, for a few minutes, the predicament that undocumented immigrants experience daily. The barcode on the ID was linked to the Immigrant Youth Forum’s Facebook page.

Levine Museum installation photos by JoAnn Sieburg-Baker

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