Foreign Policy in Focus
The U.S. immigration debate has generated a lot of heat over the years, but not necessarily a lot of light. Americans have been talking about the topic for centuries without coming to any firm conclusions. Indeed, the United States has been debating immigration since even before its founding—probably longer, even, than Americans have been self-consciously reminding themselves that they are, after all, a nation of immigrants.
The debate has often been short on solutions. But it has never been short on words.
It is the magnitude of this centuries-long discussion that Huong, a Vietnamese-American artist and activist, seeks to capture in her latest mural project, “Immigration – The Wall of Borders.” In a recent visit to the IPS office, Huong was keen to emphasize the scale of the mural: eight feet high and over 200 feet long, with a planned expansion to some 400 feet by the time the mural is unveiled in Miami in January 2012.
South Miami News
Courtesy of Artist Huong has created a new mural the “IMMIGRATION Wall of Borders.” The over eight foot tall and 200 foot long immigration-themed exhibit will be unveiled to the public on January 14, 2011 at the Artist’s Studio at 7900 SW 77 Avenue from 2pm to 6pm. The mural is sponsored by the Peace Mural Foundation whose mission it is to promote civic education and action for peace and justice through the arts. This interactive project is aimed at continuing dialogue on immigration-related issues so near to Huong’s heart. Huong arrived in the United States in 1975 when fleeing the fall of Saigon with her young son. “Art can do what talking heads cannot. It inspires, disturbs, and evokes personal responsibility,” said Huong. After the unveiling on January 14, the foundation will be seeking a public space to house the exhibit. Call 305-915-1018 to find out more about “IMMIGRATION Wall of Borders” or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Website is: www.peacemural.org
SERVING MIAMI-DADE COUNTY SINCE 1958
JAN. 24 - FEB. 6, 2012 Community Newspapers
BY RAQUEL GARCIA
The contentious immigration debate today evokes sharp memories in the mind of local artist Huong.
In 1975, a 25-year-old Huong escaped her native Vietnam and managed to make it to Subic Bay in the Phillippines where the American Naval Base and promise of freedom harkened.
Immigration Wall of Borders is a more than eight-foot tall and 200-foot-long peace mural designed by Huong and aimed at continuing dialogue on immigration-related issues.
“Immigration has been debated in the United States since the country was founded,” Huong said. “We keep kicking the can down the road and have been doing that for so long. It is immoral and inhumane to discount the value of immigrants and I wanted to bring the issue forward as an artist to stir
The mural is an interactive project whereby panels of quotes from famous
thinkers on immigration are presented along with stark imagery of abstract forms representing naked humanity. There are open spaces in between the sepia toned quotes and art where viewers are encouraged to pick up a silver metallic marker and add their own remarks.
“We are all immigrants. How can anyone say what an American looks like? We are black, white, everything; our population is from all over the world. Everything I do is a very personal reflection about exile and the futility of all wars,” Huong said.
Huong is a self-taught artist with more than 100 solo exhibits presented throughout Canada and the United States in her 30-year professional career. Huong’s work has been shown in museums, galleries, outdoor exhibits and in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC. “The Peace Mural,” representing over 2,000 works, was created as a protest to the Iraqi War in 2003. “Fragments of War” was 25 years in the making and completed in 2000
as a cathartic process to help Huong make peace with the tragedies of her war-torn past.
“When we came to this country as refugees we had nothing. No clothes, no
family, no identity, no country, nothing —only the naked truth. We, like all immigrants throughout history, carried with us just flesh and bone as we started over at the absolute bottom of society.”
Huong hopes the immigration mural will encourage more people to speak out about peaceful principles and be an encouragement for young people to stay engaged in pressing social issues.
She plans to travel with the exhibit after locating an appropriate venue for its display in Miami. The idea is to take it on the road for several years and present the work of art in the southern border states of California, Arizona, Texas and Alabama where the immigration issue is hotly debated — and
The Peace Mural Foundation is an all volunteer organization sponsoring
Immigration Wall of Borders with a mission to promote civic education and action for peace and justice through the arts.
“By fate or chance on that day in 1975 I was destined to begin the journey that would forever change my life. In Vietnam I was a child of war; today I am a woman of peace. My art is my story, my art-biography and in a way that is unique to each viewer, the story of us all.”
To find out more about Huong and the Peace Mural Foundation send email to<email@example.com> or visit www.peacemural.org. Her work also can be seen on YouTube.