Bridge: Art & Social Justice | Harwood Art Center

Bridge: Art & Social Justice

Friday, September 07, 6:00pm

Aún no Escrito / Unwritten: Kemely Gomez

Inspired by political discourse on immigration policies in the United States, Kemely Gomez has created a mixed-media installation that displays the stories of immigrant families in her community. She rewrites the narrative of each individual by embroidering their messages on bags made from newspaper—and specifically, those articles that focused on immigration.

Join Kemely during the opening to create a wall installation by writing messages about our personal meanings of home.

More about the exhibition

Aún No Escrito / Unwritten is inspired by the current political discourse in the United States. With our focus on the Zero Tolerance immigration policy, the media has been a leader in conveying the immense amount of controversy surrounding the issue. However, they have been so centered on the politics and statistics that they have neglected the individuals who have been affected by those policies. Because of this, Gomez wants to give immigrants the power to share their stories, memories, and emotions.

For this project, Gomez invited immigrant families in her community to participate. After having conversations with them about their experiences, she created bags on which she embroidered the memories and emotions of their journeys. Each bag was made by sewing newspaper—specifically, those articles that focused on immigration—so that the embroidered messages cover the stories written by the media.

These bags represent these people’s journeys and their struggles for adaptation. When they made the decision to leave their native country, there was a lot of both positive and negative energy that was packed inside of their luggage. Those bags were filled with their hopes and goals as well as their sorrows and fears—all as they had to leave everything behind. Their stories didn’t end when they arrived in this country. There exists memories and emotions that these people will never forget.


Home is a wall installation to be created the night of the opening through audience collaboration by writing messages about our personal meanings of home; this may include poems, songs, thoughts, or experiences. These messages will be written on pieces of fabric, which will then be tied onto the structure on the wall. The work intends to promote self-reflection and human connection by sharing stories and uniting them in a single community.


Kemely Gomez is a Guatemalan-born studio artist who currently lives and works in Santa Fe, NM. She immigrated to the United States at the age of twelve along with her mother and younger sister. Gomez’s studio practice include sculpture, painting, performance, and installation art, which focuses on themes of memory, absence, and displacement.  Her work is influenced by her childhood experiences in her native country and the challenges she has faced being a undocumented immigrant. Gomez received her BFA in Studio Arts from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Her work has been exhibited in settings such as Mill Contemporary Gallery (Santa Fe, NM). Form and Concept Gallery (Santa Fe NM). Fine Arts Gallery, SFUAD (Santa Fe, NM) Wade Wilson Gallery, Juror Lucy Lippard (Santa Fe, NM). Her artwork has been featured in Terreno| Borderland Linguistics, Print. 2017 By Silvia Arthur, Lois Klassen, Daisy Quezada.

“My work explores memory, absence and displacement. Forced to flee from Guatemala I feel the necessity to reference my country’s culture along with my childhood experiences. For the past year, I have been creating immersive installations that convey my story and experiences.

Guatemala is a country that struggles with political, economic and social issues. I am interested in these topics because I experienced them on a daily basis when I lived in my country. Investigating and revealing these challenges through my practice allows me to communicate them to audiences who have not shared these experiences.

I want the audience to recognize the struggle that people from Third World countries face. I want the viewer to understand where I come from and why it is important.”
– Kemely Gomez

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Kris Mills

Former Studio Artist

I was in Harwood’s very first show called Road To Chaos, organized by Jeff Kruger. My dog, Micro, was also in that show eating 30 hot dogs in a performance piece by Bryan Konefsky. I had two studios at two different times. The most recemt, I used the studio to do serigraphy with my collaborative friend Tom Loeb. LThe first time, I used the studio to make sculpture. Harwood has given me many opportunities to show my own art and curate shows about the work my community, Albuquerque makes.  My dog Pablo and I are in and out of Harwood’s doors a lot because I now live in the neighborhood.

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