Overlap project explores immigration through art

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Nimisha Doongarwal

One of the artists work featured in this exhibition, “Fighter beyond color,” displays different aspects of culture and worldly problems.

Overlap: Home, Immigration, and Identity brings a unique aspect and message to the art community and its observers.

The Overlap project was given a grant in 2019 and made its debut in Dec. 2020. Andrea Guskin, the exhibit’s creator, worked with several local artists to shed light on a topic that impacts many: immigration. Guskin opposed Trump’s immigration policies, which she took inspiration from.

“I wanted to do something positive for the community, and that’s celebratory,” Guskin said.

With the support of Bayfair Mall, Guskin worked with ARTogether to compose the exhibit.

ARTogether is a non-profit organization based in the Bay Area which provides programs for refugees and immigrants to express their stories and experiences through different forms of art. Their mission is to shed more light on the injustices faced by people of color and indigenous communities, regardless of possible word barriers, since art can communicate one’s thoughts understandably.

For Guskin and many other artists, their work can be an output to express their stories.

A lot of my work is about my own ancestry and trying to kind of piece together the stories. I find it really interesting that there are different approaches that these artists are taking to their own relationship to memory and home and ancestry, and I think that they work together really well,” Guskin said.

Nimisha Doongarwal, one of the four artists a part of the Overlap exhibition, shared her thoughts of how she creates her art and what she wants people to take away from it.

“I try to create these abstract identities in my work [where] I do these collages which basically combine different physical appearances into one,” Doongarwal said. “What I want people to do is not look at people to their physical appearance but kind of try to understand them, try to look closely and figure out who they are in reality.”

Doongarwal’s work incorporates real-world issues into art to promote a message for the audience. Speaking out through art is a common tactic used by artists to make problems known and discussed in unique ways.

Kaitlyn White, a sophomore student in Visalia Unified School District, found that art is a meaningful way to speak out in favor of problems society faces.

“I think incorporating that into art is a wonderful and very creative thing because it not only touches more people but it spreads the word and lets people have a different perspective,” White said.

Although some opinions cannot be changed, by speaking out against the consequences of others’ actions, artists can raise awareness for those who face injustice.

“I think the message is to consider contemplating the relationships between ancestry, home, identity, memory, and just understand how many different ways there are to look at these themes,” Guskin said. “And really, to take a moment to appreciate someone else’s experience and in that way, we learn about each other, and we celebrate the diversity in our communities.”

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