Somos los que se van // We are the ones that leave
According to the New York City Department of Planning, over 800 languages are spoken in the city and 37% of New York’s population was born in another country. About 23% of these are undocumented immigrants. Michael Bloomberg, the city’s former mayor explained, “they play a vital role in this city’s economy and job market. Without them, our city’s economy would be a shell of itself and it would collapse if they were deported”.
Somos los que se van, (We Are The Ones That Leave) was a site-specific project that invited the viewer to analyse the modern concept of an undocumented migrant. Through a series of photographic/mirror interventions, the artist examines the view society has towards these workers, specifically in the restaurant industry.
After 3 years of investigation, the artist has been able to establish strong relationships with her subjects. She has lived their losses and their joys, the tears and determination. They are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, who have risked their lives in pursuit of a greater opportunity. Crossing deserts and rivers, going days without food, abandoned in the night and even left to die, they made it to the city. To a job that offers possibility - a hard one - that involves little sleep, double shifts, and extreme physical exertion.
These are fighters. These are the dreamers that have left. Like a cloud, like water that adapts to any form, to any environment. They are heroes: a reflection of ourselves and what we have once left.