‘Familias Separadas’ Highlights Untold Stories of Immigration

As the daughter of two immigrants, South Philadelphia artist Michelle Angela Ortiz regards the topic of immigration as a very important issue.

“My mother is from Columbia and my father is from Puerto Rico and we have lived near the 9th Street Market for over 40 years,” said Ortiz. “I was always surrounded by immigrants from all over the world who have a common goal of trying to move themselves and their families forward.”

After connecting with Juntos, a Latino immigrant organization that advocates for better conditions for immigrants, Ortiz was put in contact with the families that she has based her work off of.

“I chose Juntos mostly because they have a great system of empowering their community members,” said Ortiz. ‘The community members are the ones who are leading these conversations and movements and I feel that is very powerful.”

While her artwork will eventually fade from the Philadelphia locations, Ortiz hopes that the underlying message that she is trying to convey will remain.

“I want people to just take a moment and really listen and see the stories and try to connect with each one of the human beings that I have highlighted in this project,” said Ortiz. “For them to see the people and feel that connection is my main goal.”

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