The State Hornet

Professor hosts art reception to raise awareness on immigration, social justice

Art display features cultural work created by Sac State students and local artists

Yvonne+Saldana%2C+2018+graduate+of+Sac+State+and+art+major%2C+displays+her+work+at+the+University+Library+Gallery+on+Wednesday.+The+Task+Force+for+the+Center+on+Race%2C+Immigration%2C+and+Social+Justice+put+this+event+together+bring+light+to+the+topic+of+immigration.
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Professor hosts art reception to raise awareness on immigration, social justice

Yvonne Saldana, 2018 graduate of Sac State and art major, displays her work at the University Library Gallery on Wednesday. The Task Force for the Center on Race, Immigration, and Social Justice put this event together bring light to the topic of immigration.

Yvonne Saldana, 2018 graduate of Sac State and art major, displays her work at the University Library Gallery on Wednesday. The Task Force for the Center on Race, Immigration, and Social Justice put this event together bring light to the topic of immigration.

Aaron Jackson - The State Hornet

Yvonne Saldana, 2018 graduate of Sac State and art major, displays her work at the University Library Gallery on Wednesday. The Task Force for the Center on Race, Immigration, and Social Justice put this event together bring light to the topic of immigration.

Aaron Jackson - The State Hornet

Aaron Jackson - The State Hornet

Yvonne Saldana, 2018 graduate of Sac State and art major, displays her work at the University Library Gallery on Wednesday. The Task Force for the Center on Race, Immigration, and Social Justice put this event together bring light to the topic of immigration.

Aaron Jackson

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The Task Force for the Center on Race, Immigration, and Social Justice held an event at the University Library Gallery Wednesday that showcased displays of work made by local artists.

Manuel Barajas, the chair of the Task Force and sociology professor at Sacramento State, helped put on the event “Neo-Colonialism and Resistance: Indigenous Communities on the Move,” which featured a speech and a panel discussion before the main reception of the artwork.

Aaron Jackson – The State Hornet
Artist Daniel Paniagua showcases his work at the University Library Gallery on Wednesday. He was one of multiple artists at the “Neo-Colonialism and Resistance: Indigenous Communities on the Move” event displaying their work.

“I hope students understand and learn what causes migration,” Barajas said. “We brought experts, scholars, and community advocates for human rights. Through various perspectives of those away from mainstream news, this event gives voice to experiences and perspectives of those who are coming to America.”

Guest speaker Luther Castillo Harry of Organizacion Fraternal Negra Hondurena gave a speech about migration, moderated by Christopher Towler, Sac State political science professor.

Hundreds of students amongst others gathered in the room to listen to the speech before making their way into the next room to check out some of the art curated by James Fox, the head of special collections and university archives.

Aaron Jackson – The State Hornet
Artist Daniel Paniagua holds up his piece, “Defend the Families,” at the University Library Gallery on Wednesday. This work was part of the “Neo-Colonialism and Resistance: Indigenous Communities on the Move” event.

“I like the work of Daniel Paniagua, it’s very personal and you can see his passion in it,” said Alyson Rafferty, political science and deaf studies major at Sac State. “We have a very diverse campus so I think this makes other people feel more comfortable, because our campus recognizes them and they can show their work and their culture.”

Paniagua was one of the guest artists at the event that traveled from Stockton to share his work.

In a recent email to the campus community, Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen spoke of the importance of creating change along with healing and understanding, a message that Barajas fully supports.

“We need to move away from the them versus us mentality and all come together,” Barajas said. “We need to achieve understanding by listening to other points of view.”

Many of the artists, including students like art major Jose Martinez, said they felt a similar way.

“This display allows everyone to feel welcome to each other,” Martinez said. “I feel students should learn about the culture, diversity and the significance of each painting.”

Culture was one of the themes of the gallery. Each artist had their own stories for each piece of work.

The work of Yvonne Saldaña is just some of the work that embodies specific cultures, such as Mexican culture.

“I like to see Mexican art and indigenous people’s art because I like the colorful stuff, especially paintings that have history behind them,” said Maria Pantoja, psychology major and ethnic studies minor at Sac State.

The artwork showcased was intended to bring awareness of why people migrate to America.

“During Trump’s administration, there’s a negative view demonizing immigrants,” Barajas said. “People need to understand why immigrants are coming and the context that causes migration.”

The event lasted from noon until 4 p.m.

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