At Living Arts, we believe art can be a vehicle for social change. If the past few months have done nothing else, they have shown us that we are all going to have to do our part to create that change.
It’s no secret that Oklahoma has one of the worst records of welcoming immigrants. In 2007, as the United States fell into recession and anti-immigrant sentiment grew, the Oklahoma legislature passed House Bill 1804 and Governor Brad Henry signed it into law. Also known as the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, the law’s stated purpose was to address “economic hardship and lawlessness” caused by illegal immigrants. More recently Oklahoma’s Governor, Mary Fallin, and Tulsa’s Mayor (at the time), Dewey Bartlett, stated that they will not accept any immigrants from the Syrian crisis. And now, the incoming administration wants to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.
Through the Crossing Borders project, we hope to give voice to the immigrants who are coming to the United States to build a better life for themselves and their families. We also hope this month-long investigation will inform non-immigrant communities of these human stories and to perhaps change misconceptions about immigrants in our community. Through the power of Art, we hope to make these goals a reality in our city.
For everything surrounding the Crossing Borders project, please click the buttons below to learn more.
The following components will be a part of this month-long investigation:
1. Crossing Borders: Opening First Friday May 5, 2017, 6-9p. A group exhibition of visual art works by artists who have worked with or wish to work with the concept of immigration issues. Juried by Steve Liggett. Exhibition will remain open through May 25.
2. Monsters’ Business: The Big Business of Immigration – an exhibition of José Pantoja’s work. Opening First Friday May 5, 2017, 6-9pm. Pantoja grew up in Cuba where he became an accomplished painter. In 2011, he immigrated to the United States. Today, he lives and paints in Tulsa. Exhibition will remain open through May 25.
3. “Do We Belong?” Performance piece presented by Kripalaya Dance Academy at Living Arts on May 5 at 7p. Featuring: Maya Chandwaney, Preeyom Govind, Chandini Kanderi, Pragathi Gowda and Riya Kurella
4. Video Without Borders Screening: Screening of 7 short videos by immigrants who reside in Tulsa, Sat, May 6, 6:30pm at Living Arts.
5. Taco Truck Theater / Teatro Sin Fronteras: The premier performances of José Torres-Tama’s “Taco Truck Theater / Teatro Sin Fronteras” will transform a food vehicle into a mobile stage to address the anti-immigrant hysteria in the USA, and will take place May 18 and 19 at Living Arts at 8p.
6. Tulsa Area Fair Housing Partnership Movie Night / Panel: May 10 at 6p, Living Arts is partnering with the Tulsa Fair Housing Partnership and The Great Tulsa Assoc. of Realtors to present the film, The House We Live In, and a panel discussion centered around discrimination issues that immigrants face in finding housing in Oklahoma.
7. Immigration Forum: May 16 at 5:30p, Living Arts will host a panel discussion with Rich Fisher from KWGS as the panel moderator and the following as panelists: Elizabeth McCormick, Anh-Thuy Nguyen, Francisco Treviño, Mana Tahaie and Jordan Mazariegos.
Crossing Borders Cover artwork: Monsters' Business by José Antonio Pantoja Hernández