Hidemi Takagi: Facing America: Portraits of Refugees Resettling in the U.S.
February 10 – March 25, 2016
Artist Reception February 27, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
The Forum @ St. Ann’s is pleased to present its first commissioned work, Facing America: Portraits of Refugees Resettling in the U.S. by Hidemi Takagi at the historic St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights. The exhibition will be on view in the sanctuary February 10 – March 25, 2016. The Forum @ St. Ann’s seeks to engage the community in conversation about the arts, ideas and civic life. In addition to the exhibition, The Forum is also offering the public an opportunity to meet Takagi at a reception on Saturday, February 27, 4:00 – 6:00 pm.
In recent years, unprecedented numbers of refugees have risked their lives to escape political instability and violence in their homelands. Images of people in flight, including some of the millions displaced by the crisis in Syria, are now embedded in the global consciousness. Heated exchanges in the news, social media and political arenas abound concerning how many, which, and whether refugees should be welcomed. Meanwhile, the refugees are rarely seen as individuals with personal stories of struggle and survival.
Facing America attempts to fill the gap between what we know and what we see of refugees in the media. The Forum selected Hidemi Takagi to photograph refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Congo and Eritrea who have been resettled in New Haven, Connecticut, by Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), an affiliate of Episcopal Migration Ministries and the Immigration and Refugee Program of Church World Service.[frame_right][/frame_right]The large-scale color works on view humanize the refugee experience while celebrating the spirit of those who have journeyed far and found a new home in the United States. These affecting portraits also reflect Takagi’s strong engagement with her subjects, and her success in working through language and cultural barriers to reveal a connection between her and them and, in turn, between these newcomers and viewers.
Takagi is an accomplished artist born in Kyoto, Japan, and now living in Brooklyn. She has exhibited in the United States, London, Madrid, Tel Aviv and Paris. She has participated in the AIM program at The Bronx Museum of the Arts (2004), New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) IAP mentoring Program (2008), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space (2010), an Engaging Artist residency at More Art (2015) and a BRIC New Media Art Fellowship (2016). Her work has been reviewed in Time Out, the New York Times and the Village Voice. Her “Blender” project was selected for “Times Square Public Arts 2011” and her “Hello, it’s me” was awarded a seed grant by More Art.
Facing America will be on display for public viewing Tuesday through Thursday, 12 noon – 3:00 pm and on Sunday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, or by arrangement by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-875-6960.
See photos of the installation here.