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Transcending Borders: Immigrant Experiences and Dreams by Artist Julia Csekö for Be the Change Boston 2023

By Jewish Arts Collaborative

Published Jul 25, 2023

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Collection

This Curation is part of Be the Change.

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Transcending Borders

Above: (Left) Artist Julia Csekö in front of her piece Transcending Borders in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, August 2023. (Right) A close-up of the ribbons representing various languages.

 

How can we support immigrants’ rights, and welcome immigrants into our communities?

 

TAKE ACTION:

Find resources to support our immigrant communities, through established local and global organizations offering resettlement, counseling, career services, and education. If you are able to, please consider donating to one or multiple of these organizations.

If you are an immigrant or refugee, please share your story if you feel inspired to do so. 

 

ARTIST STATEMENT:

This sculpture is inspired by a Brazilian custom, where people of all ages, backgrounds, religious beliefs, and nationalities come to the historical Church of Senhor do Bonfim in Salvador, Bahia, and tie a ribbon representing a wish on the fence surrounding the premises. Transcending Borders features brightly colored ribbons tied to a fence structure and each ribbon is printed with welcoming words to immigrant populations living in Boston. The public is invited to take a ribbon in exchange for a story or kind welcoming words to immigrants. The sculpture will serve as a receptacle for dreams, kindness, and storytelling in the spirit of a Jewish Tzedakah box.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Born in Colorado to Brazilian parents on self-exile during the Brazilian military dictatorship, Julia Csekö grew up in Rio, Brazil. She moved to Boston, MA in 2010 to pursue an MFA at SMFA at Tufts. In ’23, Csekö is Collective Futures Warhol Foundation and Tufts Grantee, an AiR at the Boston Center for the Arts, JArts Be The Change Awardee, Randolph, and Newton LCC Grantee, a Somerville LCC Ambassador and is featured in a solo exhibition at Beacon Gallery in the Spring. In ’22 Cseko was a Somerville LCC grantee, a CTV MassCreative Fellow, and a Somerville Museum Community Curator, she was also invited as an AIR at Sculpture Space, upstate NY. In addition, she has public murals on view commissioned by the Downtown Boston BID, and by the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association. In 2018 Csekö was invited as an AiR at the A4A MassMoCA. Her passion for organizing dates back to her BFA at the Federal University of Rio UFRJ, when Csekö participated in negotiations demanding an increase from 0.3 to 1% of Brazilian national funds be allocated to arts and culture. She was also a member of a committee in conversation with representatives of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture.

 

👁️ Look above to watch 4 Questions with Be the Change Global Ambassador/President and CEO of HIAS Mark Hetfield, former President of American Jewish World Service and Co-Chair of Be the Change Global Ambassadors Ruth Messinger, and artist Julia Csekö. 

Be the Change Walking Tour: Julia Csekö

(3 min) Listen to Julia Csekö describe her piece for the Be the Change Walking Tour.

 

LOCATION: 

Located across from Tasty Burger.

 

Find it in the Fenway! Click here to see the full Be the Change Boston 2023 map.

 

NEXT UP:

Free to Learn by Ruth K. Henry

In Other Eyes by Wen-hao Tien

Searching for Home by Chanel Thervil

Wishing Well by Cicely Carew

The Power of the Vote by Dana Woulfe

I Am My Sister’s Keeper by Caron Tabb

 

👁️ Look above to watch 4 Questions with Be the Change Global Ambassador/President and CEO of HIAS Mark Hetfield, former President of American Jewish World Service and Co-Chair of Be the Change Global Ambassadors Ruth Messinger, and artist Julia Csekö.

Immigration Reform

(4 min) Artist Julia Csekö talks to Be the Change Global Ambassador Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, about the inspiration behind her interactive piece Transcending Borders: Immigrant Experiences and Dreams.

Welcome The Other

(4 min) Be the Change Global Ambassador Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, discusses the Jewish concept of “welcoming the stranger” and the beauty in diversity with artist Julia Csekö and former President of American Jewish World Service and Co-Chair of Be the Change Global Ambassadors Ruth Messinger.

Redefining Refugee

(3 min) “If people are fleeing for their lives, that’s all that should matter.”

Artist Julia Csekö talks with Be the Change Global Ambassador Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, about the changing definition of “refugee,” local community action, and collaboration.

Power of Our Example

(3 min) Artist Julia Csekö discusses her family’s background with migration and how our activism can inspire with Be the Change Global Ambassador Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, former President of American Jewish World Service and Co-Chair of Be the Change Global Ambassadors Ruth Messinger.

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JArts’ mission is to curate, celebrate, and build community around the diverse world of Jewish arts, culture, and creative expression. Our vision is of a more connected, engaged, and tolerant world inspired by Jewish arts and culture. Learn more at jartsboston.org.

Reflections

1

The sculpture draws inspiration from the Brazilian custom of tying ribbons with wishes on a fence. How does this adaptation of the custom symbolize the importance of welcoming immigrant populations? How can the act of exchanging a ribbon for a story or kind, welcoming words contribute to fostering empathy, understanding, and support for immigrants?

2

How does the use of vibrant colors enhance the visual impact of the artwork and convey a message of inclusivity and diversity?

3

The sculpture serves as a receptacle for dreams, kindness, and storytelling, inspired by the Jewish Tzedakah box. In what ways does this sculpture provide a space for people to engage in dialogue and contribute to immigration reform discussions?

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