The local artist says she hopes her latest visual project, "I Dream" -- part of an ongoing "Illustrated Dreams" exhibition at Alwun House -- will explore the true face (and faces) of illegal immigration in the United States.
For First Friday in August, Chavarria will hang 20 prints at Alwun House, which feature images and names of supporters of the national Dream Act proposal, each painted with the American Flag.
"These students and supporters are extremely brave by putting their
faces and names out there for everyone to see," says Chavarria. "But it's an essential part of the movement."
"I decided that having the American flag on the people would be
significant and especially painted on them because, to me, it symbolizes
that it's in their skin to be an American," she says.
The Dream Act has been a discussion in Congress annually. Chivarria says advocates are drawn to the Dream Act proposal because of one big
promise: permanent residency for undocumented immigrant students who
arrived illegally as minors.
House's Kim Moody says the gallery chose to showcase the exhibition, put together by members of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition because it's a
return to their "roots" -- "a personal display of on-the-line art
that's crying out for compassion."
"We are just like everyone else. We have two eyes, a nose and a mouth. And once people see a face of a person and read their story, it's harder to call them an alien or pest in society," she says.
Chavarria says "I Dream" is more than just an art exhibition -- it's part of a campaign for rights.
And while idea for the artwork was stuck in Chavarria's mind for a few years, her biggest motivation to showcase the series came when the the Dream Act faltered in Congress last December where it remains stalled.
Chavarria says she hopes the local campaign will spread to a national level and will hopefully get the attention of celebrities who will have an outlet to speak out on immigration policy.
According to Moody, the show offers a rare chance to meet those who are silent about being undocumented, and says he hopes people walk away from the exhibit "with an energized, overt support for passage of the Dream Act, and act on it."
Alwun House, located at 1204 E. Roosevelt St., will host the show, which begins at 6 p.m. on August 4 with a $10 entrance fee. R.S.V.P. ahead of time at 480.406.4233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.