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X is for Xenophobia - I am America (Panel Discussion 2)

Date: 
Friday, March 24, 2017 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Location: 
Steinfeld Warehouse Community Arts Center / 101 W 6th St, Tucson, Arizona 85701

Dr Barbara Eiswerth
(Executive Director of Iskashitaa Refugee Network)
www.iskashitaa.org

Marge Pellegrino (margepellegrino.com)
(Director of Owl and Panther Project of the Hopi Foundation)
www.owlandpanther.org
will join us for a panel discussion on Xenophobia.

Exhibition Description:
What is XENOPHOBIA? It is defined as an irrational fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. The rise of populism is accompanied by, and often explicitly espouses, xenophobia and racism. At the same time, there are signs that wide and heterogeneous alliances are being formed against these trends, both within traditional politics and out in the world, in communities.

The destruction caused by wars without end, driven by forces and actors far from the battlefields, has created not only the desperate flight of refugees but also decimated economies and destroyed countries to the extent that rebuilding does not even seem to be on the agenda. There are frequent deadly attacks on refugee shelters in Germany; the extreme Right is growing across Europe. In the US and elsewhere, populists are on the rise scapegoating the most vulnerable for socities’ problems.

What can the role of art be in this world we live in right now? We created an exhibition with a group of artists who use their aesthetic knowledge and craft skills to interrogate Xenophobia. These artists are interested in creating political art, activist art, interventionist art, socially engaged art, and/or social practice art addressing Xenophobia.

The xenophobic and racist propaganda is deeply rooted in the political landscape of today and it is coming both from “above” (powerful elites) and “below” (working-classes). How can we (as artists) contribute resources to combat it? We need to know the terrain to fight back and use the their tools and rules to our advantage. The tools of the game are signs, symbols, story and spectacle. We are artists. We have used these tools for years. We are well equipped but I believe we need to collaborate and create big, ground breaking exhibitions and use our networks in this struggle. If we, like minded artists, do not do it, who else will?

The aim of this exhibition is to CHANGE the way a society with growing xenophobic and racist tendencies perceive the world and act in this world, with the hope to furnish resources for those groups, alliances, networks and communities struggling to build a more just, equitable and inclusive future.

The exhibition will be up until March 30, 2017. The hope is to make it a traveling exhibition in the US and abroad. We need your support to make it a reality.