Ruthie Abel’s new series “Let It Be The Dream It Used To Be,” on view in a show opening tomorrow at Anastasia Photo and running until January 24, depicts children who arrived alone in the U.S., seeking refugee status. The show features Abel’s portraits of children who, with help from a network of pro bono legal service providers, have won the right to stay in America. In the images, they pose on bicycles and front steps and in cheerful bedrooms, embodying a hopeful picture of American childhood. But in some images, the children’s eyes have been obscured to protect their identity, a reminder of the danger they face in the countries they came from, which include El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, places with the some of the highest murder rates in the world. The show also includes images that the children made of themselves, a collaboration that “allows us to see the children on both sides of the lens, as subject and as narrator of their own stories,” the gallery writes in a statement. The children Abel photographed received free legal help from organizations including Safe Passage Project, Catholic Charities of NYC, South Bronx United, Public Counsel, KIND, Carecen and Immigrant Defenders Law Center, and in conjunction with the show, Anastasia Photo will make a donation to Safe Passage Project to support their work.
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