MORRO BAY — What does it mean to say you were born in the USA? Basically, except for the indigenous peoples of the New World, we are a nation of immigrants and we celebrate this on holidays like Columbus Day and the 4th of July.
Immigration is a hot-button subject in this country right now and there seems to be a deep ambivalence about future immigration.
“Give me your tired and your poor” no longer appeals to most living here. However, despite the complex issues surrounding the struggle for asylum, assimilation, and deportation, increasing numbers of people continue to risk emotional and physical heartbreak for the opportunity to live a safer and better life by migrating to America. In many cases, a human toll mounts as men, women and children quietly disappear from the desert landscape in pursuit of the “American Dream.”
It matters little whether we are direct descendants of immigrants or immigrants ourselves, in the current social and political climate the subject becomes more relevant than ever. This is the topic artists were asked to illustrate in the Art Center Morro Bay’s exhibit, “Born in the USA.”
Artists of all types searched for their own personal concept of this human struggle in confronting issues of immigration. In oils and acrylics, sculpture and photography they sought to display what it means to be part of this great country’s vast ethnic and cultural diversity. While this exhibit may graphically display scenes of this ongoing struggle, artists live by the motto that art doesn’t just reflect the world, it engages with it. Still, we caution for some this exhibit may be disturbing and possibly not suitable for children.
Accompanying the exhibit is the art of Barry Lundgren, a woodturner for the past 20 years. Lundgren is self-taught and derives his inspiration from the shape and type of each piece of wood. “Whether they are the classical shapes from the past or the natural-edge pieces that warp into their own shape, my goal is to make them all pleasing to the eye and touch,” Lundgren states.
Born in the USA is on display through June 24 and the gallery is free and open to the public. Art Center Morro Bay is at 835 Main St., Morro Bay, and open daily from Noon to 4 p.m. See www.artcentermorrobay.org, for more information.