Three Exhibitions

Looking for some interesting ways to escape the Austin summer heat? I recommend these three thought-provoking exhibitions which focus on immigrants, refugees, and minorities.

Beyond Walls, Between Gates, Under Bridges is featured at the Mexic-Arte Museum on Congress Avenue. This 23rd annual exhibition of emerging Latinx artists focuses on social complexities on the US / Mexico border. This exhibit closes on August 29.

Tunnel Runner displays shoes worn by migrants trying to cross the border. Artist Abel Saucedo traded these shoes with each migrant in exchange for a new pair. The rusty metal represents the border fence between El Paso and Juarez.

Lisette Chavez highlights the struggle of balancing religion with daily actions in her chapel installation titled Early Mourning.

Refugee is Not My Name is on display at the Austin Central Library through August 10. The exhibit is introduced by this quote from Simone Talma Flowers, Executive Director at Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT): “Refugee care is ongoing. It’s about building relationships with individuals—sharing your resources, your time, and your expertise. Refugees need a network of locals in order for them to thrive in their new home.”

Large panels feature photographs of refugees who have settled in Austin. The photos are accompanied by personal stories of each person’s journey to get here and their experiences living in Austin. I especially like this quote from an Iraqi refugee named Azhar: “‘Keep Austin Weird,’ I love this phrase! My English teacher told me this term and it is a beautiful thing.”

Visitors are asked to consider the question: What do you have in common with your global neighbors? The exhibit also includes video interviews with local refugees.

Get in the Game: The Fight for Equality in American Sports is the current rotating exhibit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. It focuses on “athletes who have broken barriers and spoken out for equality, both on and off the playing field.” This exhibit closes next January.

Get in the Game provides a comprehensive view of the many struggles of minority athletes from the early 1900s until today. I was impressed at how much information was packed into each display. There’s also some memorabilia from famous athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Jackie Robinson, and Jessie Owens.

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