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"Immigrant Movement International"Tania Bruguera

June 19, 2015

This Art21 Exclusive series episode features Immigrant Movement International (IMI), an ongoing project initiated by artist Tania Bruguera in 2010, located in Corona, Queens, New York. IMI functions as a community space where art and education are used to empower immigrants personally and politically. Bruguera says that by engaging with contemporary art “[immigrants] understand how to work from their fear and the limitations they put on themselves once they enter this country.”

Artist Aliza Nisenbaum, who taught an English class at IMI using art, painted portraits of her students. “A lot of these women are people that hide in some way,” says Nisenbaum. “I was trying to give a sense of agency to the women that were here in terms of finding their voice, in terms of art, and in terms of basic English skills.” Members of Tletlpapalotzin, an Aztec dance group, perform a traditional ceremony at IMI’s Community Celebration Day and discuss their experiences as immigrants living in New York City. “For me being in a ceremony gives me the strength to go forward day to day,” says Tletlpapalotzin member Ana Ramirez. “It gives me pleasure to work together with my family of the Tletlpapalotzin group.”

More information and credits


Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Wesley Miller & Susan Sollins. Camera: Jarred Alterman, Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Sound: Richard Gin & Merce Williams. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Tania Bruguera & Aliza Nisenbaum. Special Thanks: Neshi Galindo, Immigrant Movement International, Queens Museum, Ana Ramirez, Vero Ramirez & Tletlpapalotzin. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

Art21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Tania Bruguera

Tania Bruguera, a politically motivated performance artist, explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power. By creating proposals and aesthetic models for others to use and adapt, she defines herself as an initiator rather than an author, and often collaborates with multiple institutions as well as many individuals so that the full realization of her artwork occurs when others adopt and perpetuate it. She expands the definition and range of performance art, sometimes performing solo but more often staging participatory events and interactions that build on her own observations, experiences, and interpretations of the politics of repression and control.

Aliza Nisenbaum

Aliza Nisenbaum was born in 1977 in Mexico City, Mexico, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her early work consists of small, intensely painted still-lifes of flowers and large, delicate, yet colorful abstractions. In 2012, Nisenbaum began working as an art and English teacher at Tania Bruguera’s project, a community center called Immigrant Movement International (IMI); there, she painted intimate portraits of the Mexican and Central American immigrants who frequented the space.

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