LUNCHABLE: The Undocumented Present Their Own Stories in Library Exhibition

TANA poster
Poster from Documenting the Undocumented: Immigrant Voices of Past and Present on Exhibit at the UC Davis Library. Silkscreen Print by Wendy Hernandez, 2019.

Lunchable is a regular feature of the UC Davis Arts Blog that recommends an arts attraction that can be viewed during a lunch or other short break.

This story was written by Leigh Houck, news and media relations student intern, Strategic Communications

In the current political climate, you can’t turn on the news or scroll through Facebook without hearing someone talk about immigration in the United States. The exhibit Documenting the Undocumented: Immigrant Voices of Past and Present at the UC Davis Library sets academic commentary and examination aside by highlighting the opinions of perhaps the most pertinent voices in this debate: immigrants themselves. These stories are told through books of various genres and art, including some appropriate for very young readers.

The exhibit opened on May 8 and will run through Sept. 22.

Lunchable At A Glance

Documenting the Undocumented: Immigrant Voices of Past and Present at Shields Library

May 8 – Sept. 22

Library, UC Davis

The library’s exhibit’s features both primary and secondary sources. The glass cases do not disappoint: poems and poetry collections, prints and artwork, novels and children’s literature all reside within. What do they all have in common? Immigrants and their stories of coming to and living in the United States.

Immigrant students of all backgrounds can see themselves represented in the exhibit. Memoirs from Iranian Americans (Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card) and Mexican Americans (The Distance Between Us) are on display next to a photojournalistic memoir of a Jewish American in New York’s slums (How The Other Half Lives).

A novel displayed traces a Sudanese boy’s journey to America (What Is the What. The next case features picture books telling immigration stories from Italian Americans (All the Way to America) and Japanese Americans (Grandfather’s Journey).

Summer visitors to the library can take advantage of the exhibit’s multimedia perspectives on both the past and present picture of immigration in our country, compiled by Subject Specialist Librarian Roberto C. Delgadillo.

The exhibit also includes visuals. The most eye-catching is a blue and gold print that is immediately recognizable as the Golden State Warriors logo. However, upon closer examination, the logo is not the upright posts of a bridge, but rather silhouettes of immigrants standing with backpacks. The accompanying text reads “Immigrants are Warriors.” This print was designed by UC Davis student Jose Marquez in 2013 after The Warriors won the championship. In Marquez’s own words, it was used “to spread love to migrant communities.” He notes that in today’s “... political climate, these moments and these narratives feel so important.”

In an extension of the exhibit, framed art prints from UC Davis TANA echoing the exhibit themes are also hanging in Shields 193, which is the large study space in the corner of the first floor to the left of the main entrance.

Whether you’re a recent immigrant, your grandparents were immigrants, your ancestors have been here for generations, or you are curious to witness these stories for any reason, the exhibit will provide new perspective on immigration in the United States. You’ll be hard-pressed to leave without first adding several new titles to your — or your child’s — “to read” list.

Related Arts Blog story: Lunchable: All Aboard Celebrating The Transcontinental Railroad Anniversary

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