press release

DISPLACED: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis

21.03.2020 - 06.09.2020

Displaced: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis is an exhibition focusing on human migrations and displacements of the past, present, and future. Through works created in a range of media, artists from around the globe foreground forgotten histories, ask us to bear witness to the highest levels of human displacement on record, and imagine futures where migration is essential for survival. The exhibition poses critical questions around this global crisis, and illuminates the complexities surrounding the urgent social, political, and environmental issues that frame the circumstances of displacement.

The show includes the work of 12 internationally acclaimed artists, and is accompanied by community-centered education and public programs that offer accessible entry points to experiencing and understanding the global refugee crisis. The goals of Displaced are to bring this vast and urgent crisis to the forefront of our visitors’ consciousness, cultivate an understanding and appreciation of refugees that reside in northern New Mexico communities, and plant a seed to inspire action for positive social change both locally and globally.

Displaced will take the visitor on a powerful, emotional journey and serve as a catalyst for human compassion and activism by reigniting a sense of common humanity, leveraging empathy, and cultivating understanding across communities.

Displaced exhibiting artists and artworks are as follows:

Harriet Bart (US) and Yu-Wen Wu (Taiwan/US) present Leavings/Belongings, an installation partially created in partnership with New Mexico-based immigrants and refugees.

Candice Breitz (South Africa) presents Love Story (2016), a 7-channel video installation sharing the stories of six refugees from around the globe.

Reena Saini Kallat (India) presents a large-scale handwoven world map of human migration trends titled Woven Chronicle (2015).

Hew Locke (UK/Guyana) presents two large-scale murals of Greek and Mexican Refugee Shares from the early 20th century along with several of his recent boat sculptures evoking ocean crossings of migrants over the centuries.

Cannupa Hanska Luger (US) presents Future Ancestral Technologies a new installation that articulates a futuristic science-fiction narrative in which human migration is essential for survival and predicated on an understanding of Indigenous perspectives.

Guadalupe Maravilla (El Salvador, US) presents works that draw on his own personal migratory history and displacement. His work incorporates his pre-colonial Central American ancestry, personal mythology, and autobiographical story-telling.

Richard Mosse (Ireland) presents his haunting monumental heat map series of panoramic photographs, and stills from the 3-channel video installation Incoming (2017), shot with a military-grade thermal surveillance camera technology normally used for battlefield situational awareness and for long-range border enforcement. Incoming documents episodes of mass migration across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The Refugee Nation: a group that formed around the refugee athletes of the 2016 Summer Olympics is represented by the flag designed by Yara Said (Syria) and anthem composed by Moutaz Arian (Syria).

The List: an installation that features the names of more than 36,570 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants (number as of April 1, 2019) who have lost their lives trying to reach Europe since 1993. It is compiled and updated every year by the Amsterdam-based organization UNITED for Intercultural Action.

and featuring Human Flow by Ai Weiwei

SITE screens Ai Weiwei’s (China) powerful documentary film Human Flow (2017) which follows a chain of urgent human stories of displacement that stretch across the globe and include accounts from Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany, and Iraq.

Each work in Displaced will envelop the viewer and provide an interactive and complex narrative of the crisis. For example, Kallat’s Woven Chronicle is a poetic sculptural depiction of mass global migration that will absorb the viewer through its massive size and intricate layers of barbed wire and telephone cables mapping migration routes. Photographic images of Richard Mosse’s visceral Heat Maps are an onslaught of haunting and frightening footage documenting human flight through the use of military-grade thermal surveillance technology. Another essential piece of the exhibition: SITE will produce a publication that will serve as a gallery guide and an activist’s resource. This booklet will illuminate the context and intention of each artwork and offer practical ways to participate in refugee relief and aid efforts.

Organized by SITE Santa Fe, the exhibition is co-curated by Irene Hofmann, SITE Santa Fe’s Phillips Director & Chief Curator, and Brandee Caoba, Assistant Curator.