Juan Carlos Alom (b. 1964 Cuba)
Mandy and Tara, 2004
Photoengraving, 30 x 22 in sheet.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Irwin R. Berman
2011:1.1

What We Leave Behind

January 06, 2023 to June 04, 2023
What We Leave Behind invites viewers to examine the notion of global mobility as a fundamental human right. In works by artists Juan Carlos Alom, Norma Vila Rivero, Lilliam Nieves, Sandra Ramos, and Luis Palacios Kaim, the exhibition explores the causes of the contemporary diaspora as well as the consequences of the surveillance state and a global border apparatus. It questions the systems that commodify bodies and allow the free movement of goods, businesses, and a corporate class, while criminalizing those who seek to escape violence and uninhabitable spaces.
 
What We Leave Behind evaluates the network of forces that compel many to leave “home” and the challenges encountered through borderization. Adopting Achille Mbembe’s inquiries, it asks, “What, then, is this ‘borderization,’ if not the process by which world powers permanently transform certain spaces into impassable places for certain classes of populations? What is it about, if not the conscious multiplication of spaces of loss and mourning, where the lives of a multitude of people judged to be undesirable come to be shattered?” Other themes in the exhibition include family separation, the failures of modernization, climate change, and domestic violence.
 
The exhibition’s title, What We Leave Behind, is inspired by the documentary of the same name, by Director Ileana Sosa (2022), that focuses on relationships, memory, and transnational interactions. Both the exhibition and documentary embrace the concepts of mobility and of freedom. As the Cuban-born artist Sandra Ramos has stated, “I wish there were a bridge not only for the Strait of Florida but for every geographical point in dissension; for every place where it is necessary and advantageous for people to step across. For those countless places where man wants to try his luck, take shelter, work or join his brothers. I wish there were bridges, thousands of surprising and mysterious bridges that like the Nautilus would carry us into the deep waters of freedom….”