NYFA MARK Alumni
New Comer #1 - English Student, Grandmother, Mother
2012
Photography
18" x 12"
As, one of a handful of US cities that host refugee resettlement, Buffalo NY is an Ellis Island for a new era. From 2010 -2011, alone, 3000 refugees from countries like Burma, Somalia, and Bhutan have found new lives here. These people, whose native cultures, ideas and languages, are largely unfamiliar to our predominantly European and African American ethnic base, will add to the beauty, diversity and material success of this “Rust Belt” city on the mend.

As an adult ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor with the Buffalo Public Schools I have the honor of working with refugees on daily basis. I am touched and inspired by their, resilience and sense of humor in the face of a dramatic transition and an uncertain future.

These images, originally shot in color have been converted to Black and White to remove the delineating information of race. Likewise, titles are kept simple and non-descriptive in order to foster connection rather than delineation.

These portraits, of human beauty and connection, taken annually, are printed and offered as a gift to the students as my appreciation of their strength and beauty. By sharing them in exhibition hope to introduce them, and the rich cultural resource they represent, to the greater WNY community and beyond.
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