The social impact immigrants have on Miami culture

Rafael Soldi’s “Cargamontón” in the Frost Art Museum at FIU's Modesto Maidique Campus. Alba Rosa / PantherNOW

Alba Rosa | Assistant Opinion Director 

From stories of immigration to those of queerness and identity, immigrant artists are making impacts through their art. Because we live in Miami, a cultural melting pot, we must recognize the stories immigrants share both artistically and politically as the topic surrounding immigration continues.   

The range of artistic styles, from murals to sculptures, attracts more people with similar ideals and makes statements all over their city — which explains the pieces found in places like Little Havana, which is filled with culturally rich art from the Cuban community.  

Just recently, FIU’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at the Modesto Maidique Campus opened an exhibition on Rafael Soldi, titled “A body in transit” from Aug. 20 to Dec. 4, where the Peruvian artist not only examines the topic of immigration but also memory, masculinity, queerness and loss through a collection of pictures.  

He told the museum, “As is often for queer people, I felt my identity existed in a slightly different dimension than everyone else’s. Growing up in Perú, I knew that whatever society expected of me as a man, I was destined to disappoint.” 

Soldi’s exhibit is gut-wrenching, as his photographs touch on the cruel reality of queer Latinx, where they’re supposed to survive in a country that is culturally and religiously strict. As they opposed societal norms, they were made to feel like they didn’t deserve rights. He challenges and dissects that, for example in “Entre Hermanos” where he gathered queer Hispanic men and took pictures of them in a meditative state, portraying them as relaxed and content with themselves, separated from the norms. 

Another exhibit in FIU, titled “Cicatrices”, which opened from May 21 to Sept. 4, combines pieces made by several Latino artists and tugs at your heartstrings on immigration and the pain of loss while addressing abuse of power and people’s resiliency. These stories prove that the struggles and trauma in their lives leave a scar that will never fully heal.   

The endless conversation on the awful state of U.S. immigration became dull and repetitive. Even recent stories on this matter don’t carry the same impact they once did, but that won’t change the stress that immigrants continue to go through to live in safer places.  

By combining activism and art, they’re able to expand their audience and intrigue them into learning more about their story, as well as follow them on their journey for recognition and most importantly, respect from all. 

Keep an eye out for artwork in your local areas offering interesting stories to tell. It’s the best opportunity to appreciate the creativity in your neighborhood and to expand your awareness of global problems. 

The bright colors and intricate designs that beautify this city are all thanks to the immigrant artists who pursued their passion fearlessly. I’m grateful for their vision and inspiration — I hope it will do the same for all. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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