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School of Fine ArtsThe William Benton Museum of Art

Ancestors of the Passage: Work by Imna Arroyo

Inspired by this year’s UConn Reads Selection The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

January 18 – March 11, 2018

Opening Reception – Thursday, January 25, 2018,  4:30-7:00 pm
The event is FREE and open to the public. Donations welcome.
5:30 pm Remarks followed by Latin dance performance and live music
Cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, & live music by UConn Jazz Ensemble

Inspired by this year’s UConn Reads selected book, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees, and the histories of voluntary and involuntary immigration that brought us to become American. Imna Arroyo’s art installation explores the forced immigration of slaves from Africa. The ancestors of the Middle Passage, those who had been on slave ships going from Africa to the Caribbean who did not survive. Life size terracotta ceramic distinctive figures are submerged in the water surrounded by collagraphs representing a multitude of people witnessing the journey. The terracotta figures depict the African ancestors that died and are coming back to tell us to remember our gifts. This artwork attempts to gives a visual voice to the untold story of the millions of people who died during the Atlantic crossing.

This exhibition is a collaboration with: The Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center; El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies; the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute; and the Art and Art History Department of the School of Fine Arts, University of Connecticut.

Image Credit:  Ancestors of the Passage:  Journey Through the Middle Passage.  Instillation by Imna Arroyo. 2018.  Courtesy of the Artist.


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