“I Am American” Exhibition to Explore the Multi-cultural American Experience

When Steven Lockwood, director of Water Street Studios invited me to curate a show at Water Street, I spend a few months thinking about what to do. I had a number of ideas but nothing really seemed to settle in my mind. It was in November that I had to make a choice.

For a while, I had been contemplating the idea of what does it mean, in my personal experience, to be an American. After all, I am a Mexican immigrant who arrived in Chicagoland in April 1988. I was sixteen when I came only knowing basic words in English and not much understanding of the culture. Many years have passed since my arrival and I am now an American citizen with a bicultural experience.

At least in my own experience, there will always be a sense of displacement. Although I am fully immersed in the American culture, sometimes I feel like an outsider.   Art for me has become a way to bring meaning to what I do professionally as an artist, curator, gallery owner, and professor within the American context.   I believe that by working with people of diverse backgrounds, my American experience is enriched.

The works I selected for I AMerican embody what I feel this exhibition is all about. It is not a single perspective on immigration or ethnicity. Instead, using a variety of styles, visual forms, symbols and metaphors, each work provides a wide angle view into the bi-cultural experience. Some of the artists are first, second or third generation immigrants. Others, can trace their heritage back to the Native American Indians.  In that sense, this non-litteral exhibition on the American experience provides the viewer with ample room for conversation and personal interpretation. Some works directly approach the theme of identity while others delve on other subjects related to the American experience.

Please join me and many other on Friday, January 24 from 6 to 10 pm for the opening of I AMerican at Water Street Studios Gallery.

160 S. Water St. || Batavia, IL 60510 || 630.761.9977
Gallery Hours: Mon 10a-2p, Thur 10a-2p, Fri 12p-9p, Sat 10a-2p, Sun 12p-4p

I AM Poster

The I AMerican exhibition aims to explore the intricate meaning of being an American from the eyes of a variety of artists of diverse cultural experiences. Each artist selected for the exhibition brings about a different layer of understanding to the complex conversation of identity in today’s cultural context. Using a variety of mediums such as video, painting, sculpture, poetry and drawing, these artists pose through their personal interpretation of the theme an open ended question of who is an American. I AMerican seeks to invite the viewer to explore and expand his/her understanding of the multicultural implications of being an American today.







  1. website: http://www.lorettabebeau.com go to gallery section click onto Language Projects. I’m sad to think how hidden my work is over here. I’ve been gathering languages of recent and earlier immigrants and putting them onto canvas, panels, sheetrock. I’m a second generation immigrant……and of course I’ve put the native peoples of this region in the bold color. Thanks for a great blog. Loretta Bebeau 612.462.3270 Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:45:13 +0000 To: labebeau@msn.com

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