IF WALLS COULD SPEAK, Ada Trillo Gives a Voice to the Voiceless in Her New Exhibit

  • PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania
  • /
  • September 23, 2019

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Candy at the Wall | Candy, pictured with her son and daughter, was sexually assaulted and her family constantly threatened by gangs in Guatemala. She was granted asylum on September 6th ahead of the September 11th Supreme Court ruling. She is reunited with her husband. Her daughter who is now 18 and considered an adult, must wait for her own court date. Ada Trillo keeps in constant touch with Candy.
Ada Trillo

Ada Trillo is pleased to announce the opening of her photography exhibition entitled If Walls Could Speak at St. Joseph’s University’s Merion Hall Gallery. This compelling series of photographs focuses on the present day Central American children seeking asylum on the U.S.-Mexico border. The exhibit opens on Tuesday, October 1 with a special lecture, “Immigration and Social Justice”, by Trillo and St. Joseph’s University’s Dr. Richard Gioioso, Director of Latin American Studies and Latinx Studies Programs.

During Trillo’s 2017 expedition documenting the caravan of thousands of Latin American families marching from Guatemala through Mexico to the U.S. border in search of a life free from gang violence and extreme poverty, she was deeply troubled by the number of children present in the Caravan and then by the cruel and dangerous waiting game that the January 2019 "Remain in Mexico" policy created. If Walls Could Speak is the most current visual social justice commentary exposing the conditions from which these innocent children are suffering. It represents only a small percentage of the asylum-seekers affected by the January ruling but more recently, the Supreme Court decision on September 11th which denies asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection there.

“The stories of these walls are complex,” shared Trillo “I hope to bring awareness and inform those who may have never been to the border, may not have ever met a refugee. The individuals and families in these photographs have experienced unthinkable traumas and faced impossible decisions. I hope that viewers here in the United States can begin to understand the odysseys many have undertaken to provide a brighter future for themselves and their children – only to be mistreated and sent back across the border to one of the most dangerous cities in North America to be a refugee.”

The exhibition features four video interviews Trillo conducted with asylum-seekers, hand-written accounts from refugees, and more than a dozen photographs, some at life size proportions to make the impact Trillo is hoping for on the viewer.

Ada Trillo is a multidisciplinary artist focusing on issues of social justice. Trillo holds degrees from the Istituto Marangoni in Milan and Drexel University in Philadelphia. She exposes human rights issues facing Latin Americans and has been compared to Nan Goldin, Mary Ellen Mark, and Zoe Strauss. Trillo has documented forced prostitution in Juarez and the recent Migrant Caravan attempting to reach the U.S. Her multi-year migrant crisis series has been exhibited regionally and internationally in solo and group shows. Trillo and her work have been recognized by prestigious organizations from the Leeway Foundation to The Center For Emerging Visual Artists and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Based in Philadelphia, PA, and Juarez, Mexico, Trillo describes her work as the “intersection of sympathy, dignity, and hope.” Notably, Trillo is committed to giving back to her subjects and the proceeds of her work to organizations that help them. She recently helped to build a safe house for women involved in the sex trade in Juarez, the border city in which she has carried out most of her work.

If Walls Could Speak by Ada Trillo

Opening Lecture | TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2019 11:30am-12:30pm “Immigration and Social Justice” by Ada Trillo and Richard N. Gioioso Ph. D. Refreshments will be served.

Exhibit runs through October 25, 2019 | Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 9am to 7 pm; Saturdays 10am-1pm 
St Joseph’s University, Merion Hall Gallery, Maguire Campus | 5600 City Line Ave., Philadelphia Pa 19131. The University Galleries are free and open to the public.

For full Artist’s statement, expanded biography, and C.V., go to www.adatrillo.com.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Ada Trillo’s video interviews with asylum-seekers are available to the press. For editorial and images requests, please contact Tara Theune Davis at +1 917.318.5577 or  tara@bespokebytara.com.

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