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Multimedia Exhibit Explores Impact of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Immigration

This year marks the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people after hijacked airplanes crashed at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the terrorist attacks, an investigation revealed that at least two of the hijackers were staying in the United States with expired student visas.

Danish multimedia artist Anni Holm, who has a B.F.A. in photography from Columbia College Chicago, was a foreign student living in the U.S. during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and recalled federal authorities recommending that international students be fingerprinted or carry chip-implanted tracking cards after the tragedy.

Hand Art Center director Tonya Curran poses beside “Mei,” one of the digital portraits in the exhibit “Anni Holm: The Immigration Project.”

Hand Art Center director Tonya Curran poses beside “Mei,” one of the digital portraits in the exhibit “Anni Holm: The Immigration Project.”

The government monitoring sparked Holm’s thought-provoking imagery in “The Immigration Project,” an exhibit showcasing digital portraits of international students created from their photos and fingerprints. The exhibit is on display at the Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center through Oct. 13.

“I worked with international students from all over the world to obtain photos and fingerprints used to create their large-scale digital portraits,” said Holm. “Each image measures 57 inches by 43 inches and contains about 4,000 actual life-size fingerprints of each depicted student. The portraits appear pixilated when viewed up close and less so farther away.”

Tonya Curran, director of the Hand Art Center, expressed how the portraits foster global citizenship, one of Stetson University’s core values.

black and white portraits hang on the walls of the Hand Art Center

The digital portraits of international students in the exhibit “Anni Holm: The Immigration Project” are composed of the fingerprints of each subject, resulting in a pixilated look.

“We want to be good global citizens,” said Curran. “It’s a time when our country has so much going on politically and internationally. There’s a lot of commentary about immigration and racial issues being brought up every day in the news. In an academic environment, art can bring some things to the foreground so you can learn more about them, then be able to critically think about them and process that into how you conduct yourself and how you live your life.”

An opportunity to continue the conversation and view “Anni Holm: The Immigration Project” exhibition follows the Faces of Immigration: The Stetson Narrative panel discussion on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 4-6 p.m., in the duPont-Ball Library, room 25L.

The free, public event, moderated by Global Development student Zoe M. Weaver, is a collaboration between the Hand Art Center and W.O.R.L.D. (World Outreach, Research, Learning and Development): The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning. The panel, featuring Yves-Antoine Clemmen, World Language and Culture Department Chair; Yohann Ripert, French and francophone studies assistant professor; Genicelle W. Barrington, world languages and cultures and psychology student; and Chrisophe Noblet, Men’s Tennis head coach, will be discussing common and unique immigration issues that communities face in the U.S.


Anni Holm

Additional events at the Hand Art Center in September include an art workshop with Holm on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2-3:15 p.m. at the Hand Art Center. Students, staff and the general public are invited to participate in this free art activity that will be examining foreign languages by creating colorful rugs. The rugs will be displayed at the Carlton Union Building for the remainder of Holm’s exhibition.

The community will have a chance to meet Holm and learn more about her exhibit during an artist talk on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m., in the duPont-Ball Library, room 25L.

And a ceramic workshop with Stetson’s visual arts adjunct professor and alumnus Sean Erwin is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 18, 8:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m., in Sampson Hall, room B01. He also will be discussing his art career and process during an Alumni Focus Lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 7-8 p.m., in the duPont-Ball Library, room 25L. Both events are free and open to the public.

– Sandra Carr