Throughout the summer of 2021, Aram Han Sifuentes worked with high school youth in the Mural Arts Education program on Messages to Our Neighbors, a project exploring the intersection of citizenship, immigration, and belonging. Sifuentes’ art practice sits at the intersection of fiber, social practice, performance, and pedagogy. She creates socially engaged and materially rich projects that are accessible to those who are disenfranchised, particularly dispossessed immigrants of color. Messages to Our Neighbors included protest banner making that uplifts young people’s concerns, and the creation of citizenship test samplers, which highlight the arduous process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Sifuentes’ collaboration with Mural Arts youth has resulted in a powerful banner and billboard series that will be celebrated during Mural Arts Month. Each banner consists of short phrases and slogans that highlight young people’s experiences of immigration and their aspirations for the world. Banners were temporarily installed at the Rail Park, blocks away from students’ summer classroom, and will be translated into billboards that will be spread throughout the city to amplify the voices of immigrants who often go unheard during the month of October.