Friday, September 28, 2007

Nosotros por Nosotros: Latinos in Nevada Tell Their History

In an effort to promote cross-cultural understanding and awareness, the Latino Research Center of the University of Nevada, Reno, recently distributed five hundred disposable cameras to Nevada’s Latino communities, asking them to tell their stories using photographs. Second-grade soccer players, middle-aged casino workers, and seasoned professionals captured their daily experiences, creating a rich and diverse language of imagery. Nosotros por Nosotros features a selection of these photographs and investigates the traditions and transitions experienced by Nevada’s Latino community.

The essence of the phrase “Nosotros por Nosotros” cannot be translated, but even its literal Spanish meaning—“us by us”—implies a strong sense of personal identity and community. The project was envisioned as a way to empower Latinos to create, rather than adopt, their own cultural identities—ones untainted by stereotypical labels placed upon them by others. At the same time, the images provide non-Latino populations with an opportunity to dispel their misperceptions about Hispanic cultures.

This exhibition is presented in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual celebration that runs from September 15 to October 14, 2007. As a part of the Nosotros por Nosotros project, the Latino Research Center will create a publication and accompanying CD with additional images and oral histories. These materials will be distributed to every library in the state of Nevada. In this way, the Latino Research Center hopes to sustain the message of the Nosotros por Nosotros project: to capture and reveal the interwoven voices of Nevada’s Latino population.

The Nosotros por Nosotros project is generously funded by the Hart Foundation and the University of Nevada, Reno, College of Liberal Arts.