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UVa art exhibit spotlights 'undocumented' artists

The Ruffin Gallery at the University of Virginia on Friday will open an exhibit of artists who identify as currently or previously undocumented immigrants.

The “Aesthetics of Undocumentedness” exhibit has been curated by Erika Hirugami, a first-generation immigrant from Mexico who was previously undocumented, according to the UVa Department of Art website. Today, Hirugami is the founder and CEO of CuratorLove, an advocacy group for undocumented artists.

UVa assistant art professor Federico Cuatlacuatl will be featured in the exhibit, according to the gallery’s website.

“As an unprecedented and long overdue national initiative, this group exhibition and the related programming will help this group of artists come together for the first time and share invaluable artistic practices and experiences with UVA and our neighboring communities,” Cuatlacuatl said in a statement.

Cuatlacuatl is the co-founder of UNDOC+Collective, which “seeks to build knowledge and visibility regarding the undoc+ spectrum … through exhibitions, publications, residencies, digital resources and convenings,” according to the group’s website.

The “Aesthetics of Undocumentedness” exhibit opening is to kick off at noon on Friday with a community spiritual cleansing and magazine-making workshop at the Visible Records gallery and studio space at 1740 Broadway St. in Charlottesville. A reception is to follow at the Ruffin Gallery in UVa’s Ruffin Hall at 179 Culbreth Road.

On Saturday, Cuatlacuatl is scheduled to introduce the exhibit and its artists at 11 a.m. in the Rotunda at UVa. Hirugami is planned to be the keynote speaker later that day. A discussion with the featured artists is also planned in the afternoon.

General admission to Saturday’s event is free and open to the public. Those interested in can learn more and register for tickets at


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