Exhibit Celebrates Immigrant Impact on State

A photography exhibit, “Ethnos,” running through Nov. 6 at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University transports viewers to some of the nations and cultures of origin of Rhode Island’s 170,000 immigrants. Admission is free.

Photographed by Dr. Peter Snyder, professor of neurology and senior vice president for Research at Lifespan, the images celebrate those who have chosen Rhode Island. In a space of medical education, the exhibit also honors the depth of heritage and life history embodied by people that local physicians might typically encounter first as patients. Snyder captured the images over a 12-year period in Central America (Belize), in South America (Ecuador), and in India (Rajasthan).

“This exhibit celebrates our immigrants to Rhode Island by providing a close and intimate view of children, parents, and elders from a small selection of the many parts of the world they look back to as their first homes,” said Snyder, who is also an accomplished wood turner and a Scholar-in-Residence, Rhode Island School of Design.

Snyder said that the exhibit “showcases the intimate portraits of folk, people, and nations that some of the approximately 170,000 of our Rhode Island neighbors know well as their countries of origin. Immigrants make up almost 14 percent of our state’s population, and they contribute nearly $2.6 billion per year in total spending power in Rhode Island.”

He said the state is also is home to approximately 26,000 undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom are of working age, and that “these same undocumented immigrants have started more than 900 businesses in our state. This exhibit celebrates our immigrants to Rhode Island by providing a close and intimate view of children, parents, and elders from a small selection of the many parts of the world they look back to as their first homes.”

Photos by Dr. Peter Snyder

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