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Accepted paper:

Communion of Saints


Edna Lanieri (Xavier University of Louisiana )

Paper short abstract:

This arts-informed inquiry through Sicilian American cultural memory uses photography to map internal and external tensions of social, political, and cultural boundaries. Creating a framework to examine the evolution of society and politics of immigration in a multicultural 21st Century America.

Paper long abstract:

Woven together with black and white medium format photographs, I am creating a personal survey of my family's immigration history and story from Sicily to the United States in the early 20th century through immigrant adaptations of rituals, ceremonies, and the quotidian experiences that have become embedded in modern Sicilian American culture in New York and New Orleans. A Communion of Saints reflects on the nature, transmission, and negotiation of emigrant memories across space and between generations by interweaving portraits of my family, current and past homesteads, vernacular family photographs, domestic documentation, public records, and historical spaces to reflect the layers of experience that accumulate and change as one moves from culture to culture, negotiating movement between communities and the crossing of political boundaries. Some questions that will be considered are: How do immigrants remember their homeland? How do descendants of immigrants "remember" a land they rarely visit? How does diasporic memory pass through families, and how is it represented in cultural forms? With each showcase or exhibition, I will be presenting clusters of images that can be arranged and rearranged in unique groupings as another layer in telling personal and collective stories of migration and relocation. The decision of the groupings with in the frame will be decided by the exhibition space thus highlighting how personal and larger historical narratives are continually being remade. This project will debut in the form of an exhibition at the American Italian Cultural Center in New Orleans, Louisiana during PhotoNOLA.

panel MV08
Photography in Motion