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The exhibition "Nuevayotquinos" is currently on view at MoMa.
The exhibition Nuevayorquinos is currently on view at MoMa. Photo: EFE

'Nuevayorquinos' bursts into MoMa, showcasing the struggle of undocumented immigrants

The exhibition Nuevayorquinos by artist Djali Brown Cepeda, is part of MoMa's newest exhibitions.

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Many have heard about the struggle of undocumented Latinos in New York through demonstrations that took over plazas and raised their voices in front of politicians' homes and offices. They have organized large demonstrations in the streets all over the city, and now they are reclaiming their struggle through art with an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition Nuevayorquinos, by the artist Djali Brown Cepeda, shows and vindicates the 23-day hunger strike organized during the month of March by a group of undocumented migrants to demand the creation of a fund for essential workers excluded from economic aid to mitigate the crisis brought by the pandemic.

Nuevayorquinos will remain on display for three months. The exhibit consists of posters used during the protest, projects three videos of three important moments in the strike, and features portraits of the protestors and organizers, as well as a selection of Latin American and Caribbean history books, as an invitation for museum visitors to learn more about the migrant struggle.

Brown-Cepeda, a New Yorker of Dominican origin, recreated a "sanctuary space" inside MoMA — a sort of living room inspired by the homes of Latino migrants who arrived in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. An old gold velvet sofa, the figure of a golden cat or an old analog telephone make up a space that invites visitors to sit and reflect. 

The exhibition is constantly changing, just like the migrant struggle. The posters change with the different slogans: "women fighting for life and health," "our labor saved Lives," "my existence is to resist," and "Who feeds us while we feed them?" are some examples.

For the curator of the exhibition, Elena Ketelsen González, "art and social struggle go hand in hand, especially looking at the social struggle of our Latin American and Caribbean countries. We have always used art to ask for what we want, to show what is fair; and that can be seen through the posters, it can be seen through the music, or through the pots and pans, the cacerolazo, which comes from a very long history of social struggle in Latin America," she said in a conversation with EFE.

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