This summer, the contemporary art world is converging in Cleveland. Through September 30, the city hosts the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, engaging the region with over 100 programs by international, national and local artists. From traditional museums to repurposed spaces, the Cleveland Triennial is enabling art lovers to explore the city’s major attractions and travelers to revel in world-class contemporary art.
One of the highlights, The American Library by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, fittingly displayed in the Cleveland Public Library, celebrates the diversity of the United States—never more topical than with the backdrop of the immigration debate, the President’s controversial travel ban and the recent outcry over the separation of families at the border. The American Library consists of approximately 6,000 books, each wrapped in a traditional African textile and stamped in gold with the name of a first- or second-generation immigrant to the United States. And the featured Americans will surprise you: from Leonard Bernstein to Scarlett Johansson to—yes—Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. Though the backgrounds are all different, each person shares a common bond, they are the American product of immigration.
Curious about an individual’s background?
Head to theamericanlibraryinstallation.com to research the cultural heritage that has shaped each of these Americans. I was particularly drawn to the stories of those who are actively fighting against immigration, though they themselves have greatly benefitted from our nation’s history of welcoming other cultures. For example: Ted Cruz, born in Canada to a Cuban father; or Donald Trump, whose mother is from the U.K. and paternal grandparents are from Germany.
Chances are, you have your own immigration tale. Visit the website to add your story and photograph to the expanding narrative.
And follow @TravelingIQ on Instagram to see more of my travels through Cleveland and beyond.