Here There, Acá Allá is an intergenerational photography workshop that brings together the first and second generations of Mexican-American immigrant families. The title refers to the dual experience of growing up and living between two different cultures, using two different languages and developing an enriched identity. For five months, children ages seven to twelve along with their parents use disposable 35mm film cameras to take photographs of their daily lives, family relationships and social structure among other subjects. Photography acts as a platform for exchanging points of views, sharing feelings and exploring cultural identities. The use of film is not meant as a nostalgic aesthetic, but rather as a pedagogic strategy aimed to strengthen the children’s notions of responsibility. This technology, unlike digital, does not allow one to view and erase the images, resulting in a more spontaneous learning process that encourages decision-making before taking a shot as well as analysis afterward. The workshop culminates with a series of discussions between the children and adult participants, where photographs become the catalyst for sharing experiences, comparing approaches and learning from each other, thus fostering a better understanding between generations.
The selection of photographs and audio excerpts on this website represent the capstone of each year’s workshop. This online exhibition is not only a cross-section of the children and parents’ work but also a window that looks into the joys and struggles of being a Mexican-American immigrant family in the U.S. Photographs and conversations coalesce to bridge the gap between two generations and two cultures.
Here There, Acá Allá started in January 2013 with a group of 5 children and 5 relatives. The workshop was supported and hosted by Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture without Borders in Brooklyn, NY and culminated with an exhibition of images and audio recordings at 601 Artspace in Chelsea, NYC. In 2014, the workshop was possible through a collaborative effort between Mano a Mano and Masa, with the goal of making art accessible to children in the South Bronx.
This project has been possible thanks to Juan Carlos Aguirre and Luz Aguirre from Mano a Mano who made it a reality. Thanks to 601artspace, David Howe, Robert Blake, Jennifer Dalton and Mariam Rahmani who have provided generous advice and support to make the exhibitions possible. Thanks to Alejandra Ugarte, Paola Nuñez, Esther Jové Soligue and Alejandra Regalado who have participated as guest lecturers and inspired the students their artistic vision and fabulous images. Thanks to Deutsche Bank who provided the funding that enabled the second iteration of this project.
Here There Acá Allá is a project by Rafael Gamo and Susana Arellano Alvarado.
Architect and photographer Rafael Gamo Fassi was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in Mexico City. He is a graduate of the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City, where he has lived for the past 6 years. His photographic practice has focused on the complex relationships between the photographer and his subjects. He has teaching experience as invited professor at ICP, New York University, UNAM and Taller ArteLuz in Mexico City, amongst others.
Architect and urban planner Susana Arellano Alvarado was born in Mexico City and has been living in New York City for the past 5 years. She is a graduate of the MSc Urban Development Planning program from University College London. Her work has incorporated a participatory approach that aims to use art and design as tool for individual and community empowerment. She has led projects such as the Neighborhood Women Legacy Project, which highlights the role of grassroots women leaders in Brooklyn, and is co-founder of Agenda28, a design studio that develops integral design strategies for social change.