The murky story of immigration detention in America will be illuminated through photographs and audio recordings in a new exhibit opening Oct. 17 at Roosevelt University’s Gage Gallery in Chicago.
“Detained: Stories of Immigration Detention” by Greg Constantine documents through photos what immigration detention facilities, largely in rural areas, look like from the outside - and then goes inside through recordings that tell of hopelessness and disillusionment.
Constantine is an independent documentary photographer and author who has dedicated his career to stories and projects about human rights, inequality, identity and the power of the State. This includes the critically acclaimed “Nowhere People,” (2006-16), which explores the lives and struggles of stateless individuals and communities worldwide.
In his latest work, Constantine has been documenting how governments worldwide are increasingly emphasizing detention in immigration and asylum policies, including in the United States.
Traveling thousands of miles through desolate expanses of America for the past two years, Constantine has taken panoramas of immigration detention facilities that are off-limits to most Americans - and are a major part of the new Gage Gallery exhibit.
“I set out to see what this…system looked like, and more importantly, to hear the stories of those whose lives have been impacted, damaged, or in some cases destroyed,” said Constantine.
It is these stories, recounted in audio recordings, which make the new exhibit most powerful.
“We need to hear the voices of those who have crossed our border seeking asylum and a better life, only to lose their freedom and identity,” Constantine said. “The fact is, our growing immigration detention system is devastating a lot of lives – and is something we need to come to terms with as Americans."
A native of Carmel, Ind., Constantine will speak at the opening reception of “Detained: Stories of Immigration Detention” that will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17 at the Gage Gallery, 425 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago.
Surprising facts about detention centers, largely run by private companies, as well as heartbreaking details about the experience itself, now a reality for nearly 50,000 people daily, inform the show that runs through Dec. 12 at Gage.
Voice majors from an opera class at Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts can be heard recounting individual stories of detention on audio tapes that loop continuously during the exhibit. Meanwhile, journalism students from a media production class in Roosevelt’s College of Arts and Sciences worked to produce the tapes for the show.
Gage Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. For information, visit www.roosevelt.edu/centers/gage-gallery or call 312-341-6458.