Alianza Latina Presents Photo Project “Caras Latinas”

“I don’t really look ‘Latino’ at all, I guess, mostly because I get pretty pale during the winter. It doesn’t matter to me because whether or not I look ‘Latino’ doesn’t define whether or not I am Latino,” writes Ben Romero ’12 under his portrait in Alianza Latina’s “Caras Latinas” exhibit.

This is just one of the pieces that comprises “Caras Latinas,” or Latino faces, a photo project that challenges the stereotype of the Latino “look.” Alianza Latina, a club representing Latino students and their cultures, hosted an opening reception for the photo project last Friday in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL).

Students wrote written statements accompanied by portraits responding to the project’s main theme of “What does it mean to be Latino?” The pictures featured Hispanic or Latino students, faculty and staff members at Andover.

“We wanted to do something to raise awareness for our group. We have over 80 Latino students on campus, and actually there is not enough of a Latino community compared to other minorities, so we came up with the photo idea. We wanted to celebrate the diversity especially within the Latino community and also see what part of the culture the people really hold onto,” said Alexandra Donovan ’13, Head of Publicity for Alianza Latina.

The Photo Project was largely inspired by the “Hapa Project” by Kip Fulbeck, performance artist, video maker and writer. In his project, Fulbeck explored the different multiracial faces of the Asian community he photographed. Fulbeck visited Andover four years ago.

“The main purpose of this

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was to demonstrate all the diversity that exists within the Latino community on campus and to challenge the stereotype [of] ‘Latino.’ … I think that people underestimate the Latino community on campus, and they don’t know that it’s as big as it is, because as you can see on the [pictures] there are people who don’t technically usually ‘look’ Latino… so I think it is a great way to bring the campus together and to just show how big the community is,” said Ariana Brenner ’12, Director of Outreach of Alianza Latina.

During the winter term, e-mails were sent out to students, faculty and staff asking whether they identified as Latinos. People who responded were asked to be photographed and write statements.

“We are really happy with [how the project turned out]. […] We have been working for a few months and it has essentially been the board working and taking pictures and trying to get everybody rounded up, e-mailing people, and it has been a lot of work,” said Donovan.

“Caras Latinas” was funded by Linda Griffith, Dean of Community and Multicultural Development, and was supported by Cheryl Douty, Art Store Manager, Clara Isaza-Bishop, Instructor in Spanish and advisor to Alianza Latina, and Margaret Harrigan, Instructor in Photography.

“Alianza sticks to bring together the Latino community on campus and educate other non-Latinos about the Latino culture and educate them about issues Latin Americans are facing at Andover and in the U.S. in general,” said Mariana Budge ’12, the Co-head of the Alianza Latina.

“Caras Latinas” will be displayed in the Art Gallery in the OWHL throughout the month of April.