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Migration Stories Whispered in My Ear


  • Location: McIntosh Gallery Western University
    1151 Richmond Street
    London ON N6A 3K7
  • Telephone: 519-661-3181
Migration Stories Whispered in My Ear

Image: Moysés Zuñiga, Manuel, Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico, October 29, 2012. Courtesy of the artist

Migration Stories Whispered in My Ear /
Me Susurran Al Oído Historias de Migrantes
Moysés Zuñiga Santiago

August 11 - September 10, 2022
Closing Reception: Friday, September 9, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Curator: Anahí Gonzalez
Researcher: Dr. Sarah Bassnett

What are the social and political effects of the portrayal of migration as a crisis? How does photography impact our understanding of migration?

Criminal networks frequently target undocumented migrants crossing Mexico heading towards the United States. While human rights organizations have collected testimonies about these abuses throughout the country, the Mexican government refuses to acknowledge the connections between their immigration policies and the violence perpetrated against migrants.

Migration Stories Whispered in My Ear / Me Susurran Al Oído Historias de Migrantes presents an installation of the photographic work of Mexican photojournalist Moysés Zuñiga, who portrays the violence and injustice of undocumented migration. Zuñiga’s firsthand accounts from his travels along the migratory routes in Mexico create a visual testimony of the often-forgotten journey from the southern border between Mexico and Guatemala to Mexico’s northern border with the United States. The audio narrative by Zuñiga immerses the audience in the sounds of the mountains of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, and shares fragments of many migrants’ journeys.

The exhibition is based on SSHRC-funded research by Professor Sarah Bassnett of the Department of Visual Arts, Western University. Migration Stories Whispered in My Ear / Me Susurran Al Oído Historias de Migrantes contrasts the investigative process of one photographer with the representation of migration in the Mexican media. Collectively, the works in this exhibition address the various roles photography plays in shaping our understanding of undocumented migration in contemporary Mexico through local, national, and international lenses. The exhibition acknowledges migration routes as sites of trauma but also as contact zones where migrants can convey their experiences.

Moysés Zuñiga Santiago studied science and technology at the University of Xalapa Veracruz in 1998, where he worked in television, photography and radio. In 2003, he worked in Xalapa at Diario AZ as a photojournalist and was subsequently hired by Milenio de Veracruz as the photography editor. In January of 2006, he served as the correspondent for Mexican photography agency Cuartoscuro during Subcomandante Marcos' "Other Campaign" and travelled the entirety of Mexico with Marcos. During this time, Zúñiga also worked with the Associated Press (AP), EFE (Spain) and Agence France Press (AFP). Since 2007, Zúñiga has worked with La Jornada in San Cristóbal de las Casas and covers the Chiapas region for the Associated Press and EFE. In 2009 he received a Rory Peck Training Fund grant for freelance journalists in high-risk areas from the Rory Peck Trust. In addition, his work has been exhibited in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Anahí González is a Mexican photographer based in London, Ontario. She was selected to be part of the AGO X RBC Emerging Artist Exchange program (2022). She is currently an awardee of the national FONCA Young Creators Grant (Jóvenes Creadores) in Mexico with the project “Allá Más Al Norte” about Mexican labour representation in/for Canada. She holds a BA in Communication from the Universidad del Valle de México and an MFA from Western University. She is currently an Art and Visual Culture Ph.D. candidate at Western University.

Dr. Sarah Bassnett is Professor of art history at Western University. Her research focuses on the history of photography and photo-based contemporary art, especially as they relate to issues of power and resistance and moments of social change. She is the author of Picturing Toronto: Photography and the Making of a Modern City (McGill - Queen’s University Press, 2016) and co-author with Sarah Parsons of Photography in Canada, 1839-1989 (Art Canada Institute, forthcoming 2023). Her current SSHRC-funded research investigates how stories of forced migration are told through photography.

COVID-19 INFORMATION:

McIntosh Gallery is open to the public. Western staff, faculty and current students will be asked to present their OneCard upon entry. All other visitors will be asked to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival. 

If you have questions or are seeking additional information about visiting the gallery, feel free to reach out to us at mcintoshgallery@uwo.ca. For ongoing coverage of COVID-19 protocol and operations at Western University, visit https://www.uwo.ca/coronavirus/

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