CAN Blog  |  March 20, 2022


Students in Liz Maugans’ Artists In Communities class at Cleveland State University are visiting Cleveland galleries to familiarize themselves and respond to the work. The following is one student’s response to Important Papers, Gabrielle Lajoi-Bergeron’s current exhibition at SPACES. — ed.

In 2019 French-Canadian multidisciplinary artist Gabrielle Lajoi-Bergeron found an envelope full of documents, labled “Important Papers.” She soon found out they were immigration documents from a Mexican woman born in 1923 who married an American citizen. In this envelope was a woman’s life, a story, and how all of that was reduced to forms and documents – how a human being appeared as just a number. Lajoi-Bergeron felt a deep connection to her story being also raised between two cultures. She began her further development of this project by finding and connecting other immigrant stories of mothers settling in Ohio and Cleveland. It became the basis for an exhibit called Important Papers, on view at SPACES February 5 through May 26, 2022. The work questions ideas of territory, belonging, disorientation and identity. What changes must be made in the process of uprooting one’s life? What kind of weight does that carry?

By Mikayla Chacalos

Original Article

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