Freedom Tower Art Show Tells the Immigrant's Tale

Miami's Ellis Island is an ideal place for this provocative exhibit.

In 911: The Value of Urban Space, Brazil's Cia de Foto collective deploys four large color portraits and a video to document some of the 1,680 people crammed into building 911 on Prestes Mia Avenue in the heart of São Paulo, the nation's largest city. The 29-story structure had been abandoned for more than a decade before squatters from across Latin America turned the dilapidated structure into their home.

These and other works in this intriguing show offer a broad spectrum on the amalgam of identities and cultures that melt into the fabric of life in Latin America and Spain. They also portray the important role immigrants play in the diverse societies they have chosen to adopt.

"At the end of the story, all of us are immigrants," says Federico Gama, a Mexican photographer whose work is included in the show. "All of us are in a search for something. We would like to be on another side. And also in the sense of, well, where do we belong? Each border generates a hybrid culture, but this also generates identities," Gama adds. "It's not only the people that travel, but rather, the culture also travels with the people."

From Juan Valbuena's series The Wide Frontier.
From Juan Valbuena's series The Wide Frontier.


"Laberinto de Miradas": Through March 5. Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-237-7186, Tuesday through Friday noon to 5 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For the next month or so, these people of wildly varying backgrounds and cultures who share dreams and aspirations will symbolically share the Freedom Tower.

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