Welcome to America (Mckie Gallery)

August 30-December 17

Created from wedding gowns, dresses, waist skirts, various undergarments and adorned with stories told to artist Carol Hamoy by women émigrés (and their descendants). Welcome to America documents the long, arduous journeys of many courageous women. The narratives (dating from the nineteenth century through 1992) bear similarity to experiences shared by all despite economic status, ethnicity or even gender.

Carol HamoyAs a first-generation American, New York artist Carol Hamoy grappled with the clash of old-world traditions instilled by her parents and her progressive ideals that support increased opportunities for women. This challenge ultimately led Hamoy to develop Welcome to America, a body of work that documents the difficult journeys made by many women who courageously departed their homelands in search of freedom and opportunity. Welcome to America not only documents women venturing forth in support of themselves and their families, but also provides a vehicle through which Hamoy feels she is able to help women tell their stories of struggles and triumphs. Hamoy recognized that so many women never had, nor were given, a chance to express themselves. Hamoy’s “dresses” are works of art, never intended to be worn. The 150 garments, roughly 70 of which are on display, stitched together from an assortment of materials, are the canvas she uses to tell 200 stories gleaned from interviews she conducted over several years. On the front of each dress, and some on the reverse side, Hamoy applies the name, year of arrival, place of origin and a brief quote about the woman that captures the essence of her immigration experience and her life in America. The narratives illustrate a universal experience despite differences in economic status and ethnicity.

Welcome to America Text Detail 'Faye 1992. Montego Bay Jamaica. Sometimes it is more lonely here. The people are different even those from Jamaica.'