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Jun Li

I am interested in the immigrant experience and the many different stories it tells. As an immigrant myself, I want to understand and explain why people leave the familiarity of their homes and venture towards a new country and a new life. I want to know what goes on in the lives of immigrants as they attempt to find a place in America. My project is an attempt to understand the lives of three immigrants who reside in Minnesota and to reflect their unique experiences with corresponding portraits. These individuals, a young father from China, a teenager from Somalia, and a woman from Mexico, shared with me their achievements and contributions to society since moving to this country. Their stories, along with many that are unknown, are important if we are to understand the issues facing immigrants across the nation today. I hope to provide a social context to these unique experiences by combining them with those portrayed in the American news. Throughout this process, I struggled to find a balance between being excessively didactic and effectively engaging the viewers in a visual dialogue. Integrating each individual’s personality and the severity of the content in the portraits proved to be a challenge, but helped me to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for expression through visual imagery and text.