Eastern Connecticut State University and the Windham Textile and History Museum are presenting "The Latino Migration Exhibit," running through Dec. 8 at the textile museum, located at 411 Main St. in Willimantic. Museum hours are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The exhibition is a multi-media documentation of the cultural, religious, political and economic life of Latinos in Willimantic, the result of almost two years of collaboration between the museum's board of directors and Eastern faculty and staff. The exhibit acknowledges and celebrates the significant contributions that immigrants from Europe, Canada and Latin America have made to the development and growth of the region since the 19th century.
On April 13, a public reception took place in the textile museum as part of the exhibit, and on April 19 at 7 p.m., Norma Boujouen, manager of Title V programs for the Department of Health in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and author of "The Puerto Rican Experience in Willimantic," gave the keynote address on Latino migration to Willimantic.
"While the emphasis is mostly on Puerto Ricans because they still constitute the largest Latino sub-group in the town, this multi-media presentation also illustrates the recent history of immigration from Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic," said Ricardo Pérez, associate professor of anthropology at Eastern and guest curator. "We wanted to create a better representation of the changing landscape of Latino immigration to the town, which mirrors current trends in Latino immigration to other parts of the United States."
"The history of Latinos in this town is compelling, educational and informative," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "This exhibit is a source of pride and well-deserved respect for the Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Dominicans, Guatemalans and other Latinos who call Willimantic home. I hope it gives you a sense of the life of Latinos in Willimantic, a life of struggle and challenge, but also one of joy, hope and triumph. I am very pleased that our faculty and staff are part of this wonderful exhibit featuring the life of Latinos in Willimantic, and we are proud of the faculty members who have curated the exhibit. I encourage our entire community to visit the exhibit over the coming months."
The exhibit was installed by Roxanne Deojay, collections manager for the Akus Gallery at Eastern, and Art Professor Imna Arroyo, whose work critically explores issues about culture and identity. The exhibition showcases Latino artifacts, music, festivals, lectures, traditions, paintings, printmaking, sculpture and video kiosks, with images reproduced electronically. For more information, visit http://www.easternct.edu/mt-static/press_releases/2013/03/latino-migration-exhibit-at-the-windham-textile-museum.html.