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Landscape-sized portraits of immigrants light up Boston

Between dusk and dawn, larger-than-life portraits of immigrants from French cellist Yo-Yo Ma to farm workers are being projected onto 18 buildings, bridges and trees around Boston to highlight their unique contributions. NewsHour Weekend’s Mori Rothman spoke with photographer Erik Jacobs about his public arts project, titled Boston #StandsWithImmigrants.

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  • ERIK JACOBS:

    You turn the corner and all of a sudden you see a three story face on a on a tree or on a building. It’s unexpected.

  • MORI ROTHMAN:

    Walk around Boston and you may run into the work of photographer Erik Jacobs on iconic buildings, bridges and parks.

    Last summer Jacobs grew frustrated with the negative tone of the debate on immigration and began a public art project- called “Boston Stands with Immigrants”. It will show 18 projections in public spaces around the city.

  • ERIK JACOBS:

    This project is an attempt to basically shine a light on immigrants and their and their contributions.

  • MORI ROTHMAN:

    Jacobs uses a 60 pound cinema quality projector at each site. So far they’ve shown famous immigrants like dominican red sox slugger david ortiz at Fenway Park and Boston’s first muslim police captain, Haseeb Hosein. There are immigrants from all walks of life.

  • ERIK JACOBS:

    We wanted to represent a wider section of immigrants than just the most well known and recognizable.

  • MORI ROTHMAN:

    Cuban immigrant Jennis Perez was overwhelmed when she saw her picture projected on the Massachusetts State House.

  • JENNIS PEREZ:

    I think I will cry.

  • MORI ROTHMAN:

    Perez immigrated to the US two years ago seeking an escape from the meager circumstances of her family’s life in Cuba.

  • JENNIS PEREZ:

    One day I wake up. I think I need give better life for my daughter.

  • MORI ROTHMAN:

    After a six month journey Perez made it to Boston with nothing. She’s taking english classes and has a job cleaning a coworking space and hopes to make enough money to bring her seven year old daughter to the US.

  • ERIK JACOBS:

    I think that appealing to the humanity of our subjects, that’s the most unassailable story we can tell and to every degree people who may not agree that immigrants are great for our society can see these people as human beings I think we’ve succeeded.

  • MORI ROTHMAN:

    Pictures of all 18 projections will be shown later this year in a gallery at the Edward M Kennedy Institute.

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