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Go Big Read inspires art across UW community

March 14, 2012 By Jenny Price

Two parts of “Enrique’s Journey” stood out for Kat Cameron as she read this year’s Go Big Read selection: the terrifying train ride through Chiapas and the kindness of the people in Vera Cruz, who threw food and other necessities to immigrants riding atop a train through Mexico bound for America.

Photo: Go Big Read contest winner

One of the winning images, “El Tren Devadar,” submitted by undergraduate photographer Kat Cameron.

Those moments inspired Cameron’s photography, which won her first place among UW–Madison undergraduate students in the creative competition, “Our Nations of Others.” The contest invited entries from kindergartners to professors to continue the conversation begun by the book and author Sonia Nazario’s visit to campus in October.

“The two experiences are nearly polar opposites, and they occur right after each other as the migrants travel through Mexico. I chose them as my subjects because of their stark contrast,” says Cameron, who was among the winners in five categories:

  • UW undergraduate student: “Generosity & El Tren Devorador,” photography by Kat Cameron, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
  • UW graduate student: “From the Eyes of the Train,” acrylic on canvas by Beatriz Botero, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  • UW faculty or staff: “Going to the United States-1906-2006, mixed media by Micaela Sullivan-Fowler, Ebling Library
  • Dane County K-12 student: “The American Dream,” drawing on wood by Ana Teresa Montes Jimenez, East High School
  • Dane County community resident: “Wake Up Call,” essay by Stephanie Lowden of Madison

“Most of us may think economics is a subject best left to university professors and politicians, but it would behoove us to learn more about how our country’s policies affect the rest of humanity, not to mention our own jobs at home,” Madison resident Stephanie Lowden wrote in her winning essay. “Understanding this will help turn a complex issue into a very human story. And from the human story, perhaps a way forward.”

The contest prompted other contest winners to think more deeply about immigration issues, including UW graduate student Beatriz Botero.

“The face of the other, as the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas states, is a responsibility of all of us, even though we don’t know them or they will never return our help,” Botero says. “Because we all live in a nation of others, where Enrique is our brother, our son.”

For East High School student Anna Teresa Montes Jiminez, the book strengthened her feelings about connections to family and the American dream.

“We all have dreams,” she says. “If we want them to come true, we have to fight for them.”

A selection of works, including those by the winners, is on display March 14-30 in the Multicultural Center Gallery at the Red Gym. The winners will be honored in a March 20 public ceremony featuring a keynote address from Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Don Bartletti, whose work appears in “Enrique’s Journey.” The event is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. in the On Wisconsin Room of the Red Gym, 716 Langdon St.

Members of the campus community are also invited to attend a brown bag lunch, “Borders, Immigration and Photo Journalism: A conversation with Don Bartletti,” on March 19 from noon-1 p.m. in the Nafziger Room, 5th floor, Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave.

The Red Gym exhibit will also feature some selected works submitted to the “Our Nations of Others” competition, including:

Art works

  • “El Dorado,” bronze by Sofia Noguera, Madison West High School
  • “El Milagro,” oil paint on wood panel by Masarah Van Eyck, International Programs Office, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences
  • “Journeys (Cardboard Books),” collective projects from students in Spanish 311 classes, Sections 3 and 4
  • “Lined as Teeth,” acrylic, graphite, and homemade walnut ink on recycled wood and masonite by Tyler S. Green, undergraduate student, School of Education
  • Our World Of Others (cardboard book) by Araceli Alonso and Saylín Álvarez, Gender and Women’s Studies and Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  • “Thinking of Friends,” mixed media by Karissa Traun of Middleton
  • “Untitled,” acrylic on canvas by Catherine Virnich, undergraduate student, College of Letters & Science

Literary works

  • “A Child Left Behind,” poem by Tyler Stone, Middleton High School
  • “Atravesando con Enrique,” collective poem by undergraduate students from Spanish 325: Section 3
  • “Confessions Of A Liar,” essay by Evelyn Galindo-Doucette, doctoral student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  • “Enrique’s Journey: Reflexions,” essay by Felix Beilin, Shorewood Hills Elementary School
  • “Following Godot,” essay by Jaime Vargas Luna, graduate student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  • “Leaving Home,” narrative by Inna Larsen, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
  • “Parents and children both are sad to be apart,” narrative by Beatriz Mairena-Kellman, UW–Madison Odyssey Program student
  • “Pursuit of Happiness: A Family History of Diaspora,” poem and narrative by Aneidys Reyes, undergraduate student, Department of History
  • “The Road North,” poem by Dahmen Bowar, Middleton High School

Go Big Read is a common-reading program at UW–Madison designed to engage students, faculty, staff and the community in a shared, academically focused reading experience. It is now in its third year. For more details about Go Big Read:

Tags: arts, Go Big Read