Central Library to host “The Immigrant Story” exhibits beginning May 11

Who We Are exhibit honors those affected by 2017 MAX tragedy

PORTLAND, Ore. — May 6, 2019 — On May 11 Central Library will host a reception at 2:30 pm to mark the beginning of two exhibits in Central Library’s Collins Gallery that offer a platform for underrepresented immigrant and refugee voices in our community. The exhibit’s launch coincides with the upcoming two-year anniversary of the tragedy on MAX in May, 2017.

Who We Are: “A Portrait Honoring Muslim Women in Our Community” explores the emotions of Muslim women in the aftermath of the violence that took place aboard a Portland MAX train on May 26, 2017. The six stories featured in this exhibit were documented by The Immigrant Story in 2017 and 2018. The first story was documented on June 29, 2017, just one month after the MAX incident. Each story is accompanied by a photo of the subject — with the women all wearing the traditional hijab.

What We Carried: “Fragments and Memories from Iraq and Syria” by award-winning photographer Jim Lommasson tells the stories of refugees fleeing the Iraq and Syrian wars. Lommasson photographed the objects the refugees brought with them to the United States — family snapshots, an archaeology book, heirloom china dishes, the Quran — on a white background and asked the owners to write directly on the open spaces left in the prints in order to elaborate upon each object’s significance. The resulting images are as beautiful as they are heartbreaking, providing viewers with only a small glimpse of what each person has lost. 

The Immigrant Story is proud to be a platform for all underrepresented voices in our community. Our hope is that this display will provide an opportunity for visitors to explore the emotions of this particular community, which continues to bear the brunt of hate speech in the United States.

The exhibits run through June 22 in Central Library’s Collins Gallery on the building’s third floor. Everyone is welcome for the opening reception for this exhibition, featuring talks from Jim Lommasson, The Immigrant Story founder and publisher Sankar Raman and Mariamou Abdoulaye. Mariamou is one of the women portrayed in the exhibition will be telling her story about how she became the 2018 Rose Festival Princess from Benson Polytechnic. Light refreshments will be served.