The exhibit, which continues to June 29, draws from “Here, There, and Elsewhere: Refugee families in Milwaukee,” a collaborative photo-documentary project by Ruebartsch, photographer and author, and Sally Kuzma, visual artist and English as a Second Language teacher. The two artists visited and interviewed refugee families in Milwaukee in 2009-2010, resulting in the creation of these intimate portraits of the daily lives of some of the newest—and least familiar--Americans.
The focus of the exhibit is on the adult students at the International Learning Center, a site for English language instruction. These students are mainly immigrants from Southwest Asian and African, particularly Myanmar, Somalia, and Laos, who are rebuilding their lives after fleeing civil war, political persecution, and ethnic strife.
“This series of portraits by John Ruebartsch powerfully reflect the School Sisters of St. Francis’ global mission’s focus on advocating for social justice and celebrating cultural diversity,” said Valerie Christell, the gallery’s director and curator. “These photographs thoughtfully capture refugee families, depicting the distinctive ways they mingle their culture with that of 21st- century Milwaukee-area Wisconsin.”
A unique feature of this exhibit is an audio component: For several of the images, viewers will be able to dial a number on their cellphones and hear interviews with the people depicted in the photographs.
Ruebartsch himself is the child of refugee parents who fled Eastern Europe. His editorial and creative works have been shown locally at Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, and other local galleries, as well as nationally at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. He is also the author of award-winning children’s books and documentary films.
This exhibition is supported in part by the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin; and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is also sponsored by International Learning Center, a program of Neighborhood House of Milwaukee.
Alfons Gallery is located at St. Joseph Center, 1501 S. Layton Blvd. (27th Street and Greenfield Avenue) in Milwaukee. Free parking is available in the lot that is accessible on 29th and Orchard (Alexia Circle entrance). For more information on Alfons Gallery, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 414-385-5273, or visit the Gallery’s website at www.sssf.org/
About Alfons Gallery
Alfons Gallery’s mission reflects the local and global work of the School Sisters of St. Francis. Exhibitions celebrate cultural diversity and advocate for social justice, peace and the environmentthrough the artistic vision. Special events aim to both educate and inspire viewers about our world and the impact every individual makes in it.
Our Cultural Shop’s mission is to expand cultural awareness and support artisans working in our global missions as well as fine craft artists working locally.
About The School Sisters of St. Francis
The School Sisters of St. Francis are an international community of Catholic sisters who unite with others to build a just and peaceful world. Founded in 1874, they now have sisters, associates, staff, donors and volunteers actively working to address the needs of those who are poor and marginalized by society. Their mission is thriving throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and India. For more information about the School Sisters of St. Francis, please visit www.sssf.org
Valerie J Christell
Valerie J Christell