“Crossing Over: Immigration Stories – Anonymous” by Jackie Neale
Department of Photography & Imaging alum Jackie Neale is a fine art photographer, author, instructor, and former Imaging Producer of Online Features at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was recently interviewed by Art Spiel in the lead up to the opening of her project “Crossing Over: Immigration Stories,” on exhibit in Palazzo Mora at the Venice Biennale in May 2019. In it she pairs large-scale cyanotype portraits of immigrants with audio of them telling their own stories.
"My artist residency in Mission, Texas, on the Mexico border, was an opportunity to work with immigrants and descendants of Mexican immigrants. I wanted to create documentary portraits with interviews and strong visuals, maintaining anonymity for the participants, just in case. I knew there would be intense sun on the border, and large format cyanotypes on fabric seemed the perfect choice. Halfway through, I realized I wanted to expand the project into Mexico, even incorporate testimonials with immigrants and asylum seekers in Italy, my family’s country of origin. It made sense to draw comparisons between my family’s immigration to America in the early 1900’s and those who later were compelled to immigrate to the very country my family felt they had to leave."