A series of art pieces and lectures will help celebrate 2020 Latinx Heritage Month at Illinois State University.
Artist and writer Dr. Alberto Ledesma (University of California, Berkeley) is a virtual visiting artist to open this year’s events.
Ledesma’s Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life (2017) uses art to help illustrate the multitude of feelings, fears, and experiences that immigrant youths struggle with while simultaneously trying to understand their sense of identity in the United States given their undocumented status. In the opening pages of the introduction, Dr. Ledesma wrote, “These doodles represent a sort of therapy that helped me grapple with my shifting identities. In the process, what I found was a way to help those who are still undocumented and who are afflicted, as I was, by a profound ambivalence about our Americanness.”
The first illustration we are sharing of his work, captures the predicaments of Latino workers in the fields and food-processing industry in this moment in history when we are facing a world pandemic. The caption captures a young man’s predicament having to work without papers to support his family here and in his country of origin, knowing that COVID-19 has also hit his “mama’s pueblito” (his mother’s town).
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that infections amongst Latinos far outpace the rest of the nation, partly because they make up a large percentage of the nation’s essential workforce.