WE ARE: A Nation of Immigrants
As The New London Project celebrates its 10 year anniversary with an exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Museum with a show titled Anniversary Portraits, Photographer Joe Standart also turns his attention to a new generation of subjects.
The WE ARE public art project is linked to the New London Project Anniversary series in that it celebrates a facet of life in New London and by extension life in small cities and towns throughout the country. In particular WE ARE takes the pulse of the immigrant in America today. What are their fears, barriers and perhaps most importantly, what are their dreams. At this moment in time, and especially during this election year, the name immigrant is super charged with meaning, and, unfortunately, most of it negative.
As with his previous efforts, photographer Joe Standart endeavors to strip away the external trappings associated with contemporary life and asks us to view his subjects simply as dignified human beings. The exhibition consists primarily of extreme close ups of the eyes of his subjects, who appear to gaze quietly and intently back at the viewer inviting a dialog. Here I am the subject seems to say. Who are you? What do we have in common on this road of life?
The photographer is extremely grateful for the support of the small businesses of New London (the CCD) for their support, without which this project could not have been realized. Joe traces his own roots on the maternal side to Chile where his mother was born and then to Denmark where she was raised, before fleeing the oppression of WWII. On his paternal side Standart traces his roots from Detroit where he was born and then along a steady trail through New England to Plymouth rock, where his ancestor, Mary Chilton, was given the honor of being the first to take a step into the New World.