IMPERIAL VALLEY — Imperial Valley’s Hope and Resilience virtual art exhibit ends Oct. 2, culminating in a closing celebration featuring talks by participating artists, a poetry reading, and live music during a Facebook Live chat that night at 7 p.m. on the Imperial Valley Equity & Justice Coalition’s Facebook page.
The virtual exhibit, which went online Sept. 28 at www.ivhope.art, is a community-participatory artistic project that promotes unity and resilience among individuals with ties to the Imperial Valley hosted and curated by the I.V. Equity & Justice Coalition.
“As national headlines cover the tragedy of our chart-topping COVID-19 outbreak, artists can show that beneath the numbers and headlines are lives who have endured migration, injustice, inequality, and yet retain their dignity and hope,” stated Calexico resident Luis Flores, spokesman for the coalition.
Although the gallery of nearly 40 pieces of art, photographs and poetry by some two dozen artists from throughout the region will remain online at ivhope.art, the closing event which be streamed live on the coalition’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ivequityjustice/
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, 24 artists in California’s hardest hit community have come together to create art about hope and resilience. This community is not new to hardship. The mix of chronic health and economic hardships make shocks like a recession or global pandemic disproportionately felt in a community of migrant families and essential workers. In moments of crisis, long-standing injustices and inequalities sharpen, but so does the hope and resilience that sustains a vibrant community,” according to a press release from the I.V. Equity & Justice Coalition.
This experience is captured in the words of Calexico resident Ashley Diaz’s poem, “Sin Fronteras”:
“Soy los ojos que cargan las injusticias de este sistema, pero tambíen soy la carne en vida que encaja la espina a todos nuestros hermanos de Centroamérica, en la frontera sureña.”
In English, the poem translates:
“I am the eyes that carry the injustices of this system, but I am also the living flesh that fits the thorn of all our brothers in Central America, on the southern border.”
The art exhibit strives to seize the transformative power of art to break from the mass media’s narrative that focuses on our pain, the coalition press release states. Here, artists share their own story and highlight the community’s resilience as they struggle toward social, racial, health, and environmental justice during the time of COVID.
“Farmworkers are critically important and need our protection. We need to respect this valuable workforce, as they work through a pandemic remaining underpaid, in poor sanitation, and dangerous conditions exposing them to high risk. Our farmworkers, communities, and people of color are highly affected by COVID-19,” reads the description of Calexico resident Jadine Marquez’s digital print, “Trabajadores, Heroes Esenciales.” Artists and creative workers have been an overlooked but hard hit community during COVID-19, with stalled performances, exhibitions, and arts education. Artists participating in the exhibit will receive a $50 honorarium for their participation, funded by a grant from the Latino Community Foundation.