06 Sep 2020 / 21 Mar 2020

DISPLACED: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis

Displaced: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis is an exhibition focusing on human migrations and displacements of the past, present, and future. Through works created in a range of media, artists from around the globe foreground forgotten histories, ask us to bear witness to the highest levels of human displacement on record, and imagine futures where migration is essential for survival. The exhibition poses critical questions around this global crisis, and illuminates the complexities surrounding the urgent social, political, and environmental issues that frame the circumstances of displacement.

The show includes the work of 12 internationally acclaimed artists, and is accompanied by community-centered education and public programs that offer accessible entry points to experiencing and understanding the global refugee crisis. The goals of Displaced are to bring this vast and urgent crisis to the forefront of our visitors’ consciousness, cultivate an understanding and appreciation of refugees that reside in northern New Mexico communities, and plant a seed to inspire action for positive social change both locally and globally.

Displaced will take the visitor on a powerful, emotional journey and serve as a catalyst for human compassion and activism by reigniting a sense of common humanity, leveraging empathy, and cultivating understanding across communities. Displaced exhibiting artists and artworks are as follows:

Harriet Bart (US) and Yu-Wen Wu (Taiwan/US) will present Leavings/Belongings, a work that will evolve from a SITE Center artist residency and public program at SITE Santa Fe.

Candice Breitz (South Africa) presents Love Story (2016), a 7-channel video installation sharing the stories of 6 refugees from around the globe.

Reena Saini Kallat (India) presents a large-scale handwoven world map of human migration trends titled Woven Chronicle (2016).

Hew Locke (UK/Guyana) presents two large-scale murals of Greek and Mexican Refugee Shares from the early 20th century along with several of his recent boat sculptures evoking ocean crossings of migrants over the centuries.

Cannupa Hanska Luger (US) presents Future Ancestral Technologies a new installation that articulates a futuristic science-fiction narrative in which human migration is essential for survival and predicated on an understanding of Indigenous perspectives.

Guadalupe Maravilla (El Salvador, US) presents works that draw on his own personal migratory history and displacement. His work incorporates his pre-colonial Central American ancestry, personal mythology, and autobiographical story-telling.

Richard Mosse (Ireland) presents his haunting monumental heat map series of panoramic photographs, and stills from the 3-channel video installation Incoming (2017), shot with a military-grade thermal surveillance camera technology normally used for battlefield situational awareness and for long-range border enforcement. Incoming documents episodes of mass migration across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The Refugee Nation: a group that formed around the refugee athletes of the 2016 Summer Olympics is represented by the flag designed by Yara Said (Syria) and anthem composed by Moutaz Arian (Syria).

The List: a massive installation that features the names of more than 35,597 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants (number as of September 2018) who have lost their lives trying to reach Europe since 1993. It is compiled and updated every year by the Amsterdam-based organization UNITED for Intercultural Action.

and featuring Human Flow by Ai Weiwei 

Ai Weiwei (China): screens his powerful documentary film Human Flow (2017) which follows a chain of urgent human stories of displacement that stretch across the globe and include accounts from Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany, and Iraq.

Each work in Displaced will envelop the viewer and provide an interactive and complex narrative of the crisis. For example, Kallat’s Woven Chronicle is a poetic sculptural depiction of mass global migration that will absorb the viewer through its massive size and intricate layers of barbed wire and telephone cables mapping migration routes. Images from Richard Mosse’s visceral one-hour film Incoming are an onslaught of frightening footage documenting human flight through the use of military-grade thermal surveillance technology. Another essential piece of the exhibition: SITE will produce a publication that will serve as a gallery guide and an activist’s resource. Titled How Do I…? this booklet will illuminate the intention of each artwork and offer practical ways to participate in refugee relief and aid efforts.

Organized by SITE Santa Fe, the exhibition is co-curated by Irene Hofmann, SITE Santa Fe’s Phillips Director & Chief Curator, and Brandee Caoba, Assistant Curator.


Thank You
Early support for
Displaced is generously provided by:

Polly O’Brien & Barrett Toan

Steve & Karen Berkowitz
Gay Block & Billie Parker
Maria & Edward Gale
Dolly Gray-Bussard
The Harpo Foundation
Lannan Foundation
Jim Manning & Dana Pope Manning
Marleen De Bode Olivié & Marc Olivié
Courtney Finch Taylor & Scott Taylor
Carl & Marilynn Thoma
Andy Wallerstein & Mary Sloane

Additional support for Displaced is provided by the donors to
SITE’s Exhibition Fund:
Jean & John Berghoff
Madelin Coit
Sandra Deitch
Kristina Van Dyke Fort & Jeff Fort
Will Halm & Marcellin Simard
Marsha & Robert Jones
Jeanne & Mickey Klein
Helen Kornblum
Robin Merlo & Michael Lescander
Bill Miller
Leigh Moiola & Charles Dale
Christophe Olson
Jason Saslow & Frania D’Alessio

Special Events and Public Programs
A diverse array of public programs will accompany Displaced. A preliminary calendar of events follows:


-Friday, March 20, 2020
5-7:30 pm Members Opening Reception
7:30 pm    Opening Night Dinner Celebrating the Artists & Collaborators of DISPLACED

-Saturday, March 21
Public Opening & Community Day 10  am – 5 pm
Free admission with drop-in tours with participating artists throughout the day

This monthly interdisciplinary public program series engages audiences in timely and important cultural conversations by offering creative and inspiring “bite-sized” talks followed by a tasting prepared by a local chef. The 2020 Digest This programs will be centered in scholarship related to the works on view in Displaced and are made possible in part with support from the New Mexico Humanities Council.

The School of Advanced Research, Center for Contemporary Arts, and SITE Santa Fe join forces to address the global refugee crisis and ongoing US/Mexico immigration issues through the lens of the arts and social sciences. For more information, please visit our event page or the Beyond Borders website.

Beginning this spring, SITE Santa Fe, in collaboration with The School of Advanced Research (SAR) and Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA), presents Beyond Borders, a series of installations and events starting with Hostile Terrain 94, a participatory art project and exhibition, scheduled to open in Santa Fe May 8-10, 2020, and intended to call attention to the realities of migration and border policy in our hemisphere, organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), and based on the work of SAR Fellow Jason de León.

More programs and dates to be announced.


SITE Santa Fe is grateful for the support of SITE’s Board of Directors and many individuals and the following: The Brown Foundation Inc. of Houston; The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission and the Lodgers’ Tax for the Arts; The Hayes Foundation; The City of Santa Fe Children and Youth Commission; The Millstream Fund; Kathryn O’Keeffe Charitable Foundation; 3greenassistance; The City of Santa Fe Occupancy Tax Advisory Board; Santa Fe County; The Santa Fe Hestia Fund; Century Bank; New Mexico Humanities Council; New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts; The Sulica Fund; and Thornburg Investment Management.