Exhibit of migrants’ belongings shows the toll of seeking a new life

Posted On Tue, February 14, 2017 By

Posted On Tue, February 14, 2017 By In From Our Partners

The hundreds of backpacks now on display at The New School don’t belong to students there. Many of their owners are not even wondering what became of the mementos, clothes and other items small and light enough to fit inside them—some of them are children’s bookbags. This wall of backpacks that reaches all the way to the ceiling at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center tells the story of journey that will never be finished. They belonged to migrants who had made the dangerous illegal crossing into the U.S. across the Mexican border, only to perish during their four-day trek across Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Part of the exhibit involves walking across a video projection of what artist Richard Barnes calls “the debris field” of trash and personal belongings that line their path.