The Other Side: Mexican and Chinese Immigration to America Asia Society Texas Center
March 28, 2015-July 19, 2015
The inspiration behind the exhibition came about in 2012, when the United States formally apologized to those harmed by the Chinese Exclusion Act, a series of laws enacted from 1882 to 1943 prohibiting people of Chinese ancestry from becoming naturalized U.S. citizens. Fearing the so-called corruptive effects of the Chinese on the moral, cultural, and economic underpinning of mainstream, Euro-American society, Congress drafted laws which were the first to restrict immigration to the United States and had parallel consequences for other ethnic groups. The unusual gesture of legislative contrition, only the fifth in the nation’s history, suggested the importance of admitting and examining the traumas of our nation’s immigrant history.
“An exhibition like The Other Side could not be coming at a more important time for Houston, as we watch closely the developments around President Obama’s actions on immigration,” says Asia Society Texas Center Executive Director Bonna Kol. “We are a city made richly diverse by generations of immigrants, and this exhibition will bring people together in meaningful dialogue around thought-provoking artworks.”
The Other Side strives to offer a more humanized perspective on the complex immigration issues often overshadowed by mass media. The title of the exhibition comes from the reference in Latin American communities to the U.S. as El Otro Lado —the other side. The term refers to the promise of the “American Dream” that drives thousands of people across the border looking for work, security, education and ultimately a better life. The exhibition seeks to examine what motivates human migration and to also shed light on the experiences of Chinese and Mexican immigrants who have come to America. Personal tales of hardships, adversity, discrimination, and sacrifices come together to provide a greater understanding of our nation’s past; how far we have come; and where we still need to go.
The artists represented in the exhibition, Andrea Bowers, Blane De St. Croix, Margarita Cabrera, Zhi Lin, Hung Liu, and Tony de los Reyes each employ different styles and references and span different historic periods, geographic locations, cultural influences, and gender perspectives, but are seamlessly bound together by the common threads of memory, history, identity, and humanity.
“The experiences of Chinese and Mexican immigrants to America have been an important part of Houston’s history and growth as a city,” says the organization’s Nancy C. Allen Curator & Director of Exhibitions Bridget Bray. “The exhibition highlights the shared experiences of these communities.”
For more information about the exhibit please click here.
A copy of the exhibition brochure can be downloaded here.