What does it mean to be an American? Inari Kylänen's latest exhibition entitled, A Nation of Immigrants, examines questions about home, familiarity, American ideals, and the ways in which she believes the nation falls short of these ideals.
"I find it ironic, that 'the nation of immigrants' has always struggled with the concept of people born elsewhere," says Kylänen. Born in Finland, Kylänen first arrived in the United States as an exchange student in 2001 to study art in Fairbanks. While her own immigration process went smoothly, she understands it has not been easy for others.
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"Ever since my immigration to the United States I have felt welcomed and appreciated. My legal process was short and easy, and no one has ever questioned my right to be here. I am happy to call Alaska my home. Yet, at the same time, I hear my friends' stories about getting chastised for not speaking English, being pulled aside every time they entered an airport, or being barred from entering the country altogether. This exhibition was born from my own conflicting emotions." says Kylanen.
Through the use of saturated color, bold line, and iconic imagery, Kylänen's collection of paintings draws the viewer into the immigrant's world and the current immigration experience in the US.
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