CROSSING CULTURES: Family, Memory and Displacement

at the Cambridge Art Association, 2019

Curated by Claudia Ruiz Gustafson


About the Exhibition:

Crossing Cultures is an art exhibition about family, memory, displacement and identity from the point of view of six visual artists with roots in five regions: Asia (India and Iran), South America (Peru), North America (Mexico), The Caribbean (Cuba and Haiti) and Europe (Germany). Through the use of vintage family photographs, and the use of different mediums: photography, painting, mixed media and video, these artists uncover their family stories and create complex, multidimensional narratives to reflect upon what they have left behind while shifting countries and at the same time honoring and remembering family traditions and vanishing ways of life.

Crossing Cultures started as a response to the immigration crisis we were experiencing in our country in 2019. As an artist myself, I wanted to do something to highlight the immigrant artists in my community. We are a nation of people who have come from around the globe and have experienced loss and transformation as we make our way in a new place. A place where diverse backgrounds, political beliefs, faiths, identities, and ideas come together to create something new. This exhibition embodies and celebrates this ongoing transformation in what it means to find home at a time where migration across the world is at an all-time high.


About the Artists:

Astrid Reischwitz

Astrid Reischwitz is a lens-based artist whose work explores storytelling from a personal perspective. Using keepsakes from family life, old photographs, and storytelling strategies, she builds a visual world of memory, identity, place, and home. Her current focus is the exploration of personal and collective memory influenced by her upbringing in Germany. Her work received multiple awards including Series Winner at the 2021 Siena International Photo Awards, a Juror’s Pick at the 2021 LensCulture Art Photography Awards, and the Griffin Award at the 26th Juried Exhibition, Griffin Museum of Photography. She is a four-time Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 photographer and is currently represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston MA.

Claudia Ruiz Gustafson

Claudia Ruiz Gustafson is a Peruvian Latinx visual artist and curator whose practice engages photography, assemblage, poetry and artist book making. Her work is mainly autobiographical and self-reflective; her cross-cultural experience and Peruvian heritage deeply inform her art making. She is a 2021 Massachusetts Cultural Artist Fellow and a 2021 Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50.  She holds a BA in Communications (Comunicación para el Desarrollo) from Universidad de Lima, and a Professional Photography Certificate from Kodak Interamericana de Perú. She currently lives and works in Massachusetts.

Nilou Moochhala

Originally from Mumbai/India, Nilou Moochhala’s visual practice has been channeled into examining issues of cross-cultural change and transformation through the use of language, image, and memorabilia to create social and political narratives. She has exhibited in numerous galleries from Boston to Brooklyn, and her pandemic-inspired Virus Series is part of National Women’s History Museum. She was selected as the 2021 Artist-in-Residence for the Arlington Commission on Arts and Culture, and has been a recipient of numerous grants from the Mass Cultural Council and New England Foundation for the Arts. Her public art projects have been profiled in the Boston Globe, WBUR, Artscope, and Art Outdoors.

Vivian Poey

Vivian Poey is a visual artist and a Professor at Lesley University, College of Art and Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work examines a number of issues ranging from migration and cultural assimilation to the passing of time. Vivian is American, born in Mexico of Cuban parents and lived in Guatemala and Colombia before moving to the U.S. This complicated trajectory informs all of her art, which serves as a method of investigation, and includes photography, installation and performance.

Shabnam Jannesari

Shabnam Jannesari is an Iranian artist who received her MFA with distinction in Studio Art at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Art Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, Canada in 2020. She incorporates both drawing and painting to explore the memories and nostalgia of distant intimacies in her life through narrative. She illuminates the plight of the Iranian woman – censored by an overreaching patriarchy.  Shabnam carefully composes the figures which empowers the complex reality of Iranian female identity.

Nicolas Hyacinthe

Nicolas Hyacinthe is a multidisciplinary artist born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and now based in Boston, MA. He studied photography and film at Emerson College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production. During his childhood he witnessed his homeland endure drastic political and cultural changes. Nicolas’s art immerses the viewer into the political, physical and cultural landscapes of Haiti and its people. His work explores themes of identity and the collective human experience: What is it to be black, immigrant, Haitian in the world today.


Crossing Cultures at the Cambridge Art Association:


CROSSING CULTURES: Family, Memory and Displacement 2.0

at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, 2020

Curated by Claudia Ruiz Gustafson


Crossing Cultures at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts:

Installation Video:


CROSSING CULTURES: Family, Memory and Displacement 3.0

at the Fort Point Art Gallery, 2021

Curated by Claudia Ruiz Gustafson


Virtual Opening Reception and Artists Talk:


CROSSING CULTURES: Family, Memory and Displacement 4.0

at A.P.E. Arts Gallery, 2022

Curated by Claudia Ruiz Gustafson


Podcast of our radio interview with Donnabelle Casis on ArtsBeat, WHMP (Go to minute 42:40)