Celebrating Maine refugee, immigrant artists

Sep 16, 2017
Orson Horchler brings a “Mainer” installation to Belfast’s Waterfall Arts.

Belfast — Waterfall Arts, 256 High St., will hold an opening reception for a new exhibition, “Arrival,” Friday, Sept. 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

Maine is home to many diverse ethnicities and cultural groups, counter to the stereotypical depiction of the white, flannel-clad Mainer.  While statistically Maine is still one of the most racially homogeneous states (95 percent), in the last decade ethnic diversity grew in all 16 counties.

“Arrival” showcases works by Maine immigrant and refugee artists. These artists, ranging from recent immigrants to long-time naturalized citizens, have arrived here in Maine and bring traditions/identities that are from other countries/cultures. Their diverse journeys are defining factors in their lives and their art. By generating awareness, this exhibition aims to engage visitors in conversation about how our communities can work toward greater inclusivity, learn about each other and celebrate the growing diversity in our state.

The Telling Room will be participating with projections of video of young adults from Southern Maine’s growing community of immigrants/refugees telling stories of immigration, the “myth of America” and what “home” means in a new country. Orson Horchler’s “Mainer” portraits will be wheat-pasted on the exterior of the building, featuring Mainers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to directly address the stereotypical depiction of a “typical Mainer.”

Included will be a portion of Bangladeshi artist Ali Asgar’s large installation “No/one Home”; Asgar is an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at the University of Maine. Additional artists include Titi de Baccarat, Rosalba Breazeale, Diana Brown, Asherah Cinnamon, Edwige Charlot, Renata Klein, Anna Mikuskova, Damir Porobic and Maia Snow.

Also opening Sept. 22 at Waterfall Arts is “#Uprooted: Some Sense of Home,” a community installation by Maine artist Susan Smith in the Corridor Gallery. Smith creates socially engaged projects. For the “#Uprooted” installation, she distributed mass-produced house forms to local schools, colleges, homeless service centers, food banks, nursing homes and libraries. Participants used the basic house to create art pieces that depict their interpretation of “home.”

“Arrival” and “#Uprooted” will remain on display to Nov. 17. There will be a free artist talk Sunday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m. And Horchler will discuss his “Mainers” project in an artist talk Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.

The Clifford and Corridor galleries at Waterfall Arts are open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

“Arrival” is made possible by foundation support from the Waldo County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, the Onion Foundation, Morton Kelly Charitable Trust and the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by local business sponsors All Creatures Acupuncture Mobile Veterinary Services, Cold Mountain Builders, Little River Veterinary Clinic, ReVision Energy, Old Professor's Bookshop, VeloInk, Waldo County Family Dentistry and Viking Lumber Inc.

Launched in 2000, Waterfall Arts is a community arts center that offers resources to students, professionals and arts enthusiasts of all ages. Opportunities include classes, exhibitions, events, performances, open community studios (clay, print, and darkroom photography), public art projects, studio space and more. For more information, call 338-2222 or visit waterfallarts.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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