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Hannah Smotrich Creates Interpretive Exhibition for Deported: An American Division

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Image from Deported: An American Division. 

The Ford School of Public Policy presents Deported: An American Division, a photography exhibition by Detroit-based visual journalist Rachel Woolf, on view from January 15 – 31, 2019 at Weill Hall (735 S. State St) and co-sponsored by the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. Stamps Professor Hannah Smotrich designed the exhibition and collaborated with Ford School faculty Ann Lin and Fabiana Silva to situate the photographs in a policy, political, and historical context. 

Deported: An American Division began in late July 2017 when Woolf met Lourdes Salazar Bautista days before her deportation hearing in Detroit. Bautista had been living in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the past 20 years along with her children Pamela (19), Bryan (14), and Lourdes (16) who were all born in the United States. Though the family was hopeful that Bautista would be granted permission to stay in the U.S., it was determined at her hearing that she would be deported. Bautista, along with her two younger children, left for Mexico soon after the hearing in August 2017.

Sometimes I can’t find the adequate words to explain to my kids that there’s no reason why they have to pay for their parents, being that they are citizens and they have the right to be in [the U.S.],” Bautista said. They want to return to their schools with the lives they had in the U.S., since it is what they know.”

Through Woolf’s focus on Lourdes Salazar Bautista and her children, we can better understand the nuance of deportation and the impact it has on families and their communities. Woolf will return to Mexico in May 2018 to update her story on the Bautista family and provide an intimate glimpse into what life after deportation is like for families who are forcibly removed from the United States and sent to countries that are at once strange and familiar.

As part of the U‑M Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium, the Ford School will host an exhibition reception on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 from 4 – 6 pm at Weill Hall Great Hall (735 S. State St.). 

The school will also host a panel discussion in conjunction with this exhibition on Monday, January 21 from 11:30 – 1:30 at Weill Hall, Annenberg Auditorium (1120). The panel features Rachel Woolf, artist; Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, Knight-Wallace Fellow, Mexican journalist and asylum seeker; Laura Sanders, co-founder of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights; and Ford School faculty Fabiana Silva. 

Both events are free and open to the public.

Deported: An American Division | Ford School of Public Policy