Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Art at Watson presents Breaking Out: Immigrant Art from Confinement

hand-drawn heart with prison bars

Thursday, March 17 –
Tuesday, May 31, 2022

111 Thayer Street, first floor

Breaking Out is an exhibition featuring pencil and ballpoint pen drawings, handwritten letters, and handmade objects created by irregularly documented immigrants detained at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. This art illustrates the repressive detention conditions that inmates face, their memories of life before direct contact with immigration enforcement, and their hopes for lives beyond the reach of institutional violence. 

The exhibition is a venue for detained people who have journeyed through Latin American and the Caribbean to speak for themselves about the conditions of their lives in close proximity to state surveillance and detention. This immigrant-generated media enables the exhibition’s visitors to trace paths into, through, and away from detention in rural Georgia and challenge the narratives we have come to expect about people who are subjected to immigration enforcement.

The original pieces are on loan from El Refugio, a community organization in Lumpkin, Georgia, that has served migrants detained at Stewart Detention Center and their families since 2008. 

Please direct any questions to artatwatson@brown.edu

Art at Watson

Breaking Out was conceived and curated by Kristen Kolenz, postdoctoral research associate, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and co-curated by Erica Durante, visiting assistant professor of Latin American Studies, with assistance from Johanna García, Patti Ghezzi, and the team at El Refugio.