Amnesty International, the renowned Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights and social justice network, will host Art for Amnesty for the first time in Miami this Friday, August 12. The event, titled "People On the Move," will be held at Art Bastion in Wynwood, and is free to the public. The exhibit will have an art showcase, panel discussion, and reception, all focused on migrant and refugee issues.
“We’re living in a time that’s really unprecedented because the number of displaced persons is at an all-time record high," says event organizer Courtney Levine. "Part of what Amnesty is looking to do is encourage resettlement here and in countries that are similar economically to the U.S.”
The global crisis has a particular significance in Miami, where many refugees and migrants enter the United States. “There’s a long-standing history of the South Florida area being home to immigrant populations," Levine says. "I think that history lends itself to Miami being sympathetic to the needs of the ongoing crisis. We should be doing what we can to make them feel welcome, as well as working with our representatives to make sure that all the policies that exist here encourage resettlement in a healthy way."
One of the goals of Art for Amnesty is to educate Miami residents who might not otherwise be aware of the realities these issues present. Levine says hosting the event in the heart of Miami’s arts district was a no-brainer. “Art has the power to speak to people in a way that is sometimes more emotional or more visceral than just hearing about information that, while sad and concerning, is sometimes difficult to process,” she says.
The showcase consists entirely of local artists. There will be a wide range of styles and forms, but all will be connected by a voice for change. Most of the works were created specially for the event. Artist duo House Eleven will feature a gigantic interactive installation. Also on display will be photographs by Luis Castañeda, depicting Cuban refugees arriving in Florida by raft in the 1990s.
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Levine says, “My hope is that it creates an opportunity to increase dialogue around the refugee crisis, how it affects us here on a local level and communal acknowledgment of human rights in the Miami area. These are all things that I think start with small steps, like community discussions that ultimately mobilize people towards making changes.”
People On The Move presented by Art for Amnesty
6 to 10 p.m. Friday, August 12, through Sunday, August 14, at Art Bastion (2085 NW Second Ave., #104, Miami). Admission is free with registration at eventbrite.com.