NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Yolando Alonso has the first bilingual art exhibit at the Illinois Art Station.
Her exhibit, “We Are the Latinos en BloNo: Showcasing Our Stories in Words and Photographs is also the first exhibit curated at the Illinois Art Station by someone from the Latino Community.
In Mexico, Alonso spent more than 10 years as a newspaper reporter. After immigrating to the United States less than five years ago she used those journalistic skills to create her blog “Latinos en BloNo.”
“We need to open a space for the community, for the Latino community. We need to raise our voices and share the stories,” she said. “So, I think that this is a start. This is a great start here for everyone in Bloomington-Normal.”
In January, Alonso came up with the idea to have an art exhibit for Hispanic Heritage Month. She interviewed and photographed 11 people thus creating her historic exhibit.
“I saw that nobody is doing this work here in Bloomington-Normal,” said Alonso. “So, I started this project to create something different for the Latino community.”
The exhibit includes photographs of each person and the transcription of each interview in English and Spanish. Dra. Maura Toro-Morn, Director of the Latin American/Latino Studies Program at Illinois State University, is one of the featured subjects of Alonso’s exhibit.
“I am a storyteller too. I am a sociologist by training. So, this is one of those things that we need to do more often,” Toro-Morn said.
Toro-Morn said she’s proud of Alonso’s work.
“For her to have the vision to say, ‘You know what we really need to see ourselves in a different light. We really need to see ourselves in terms of the collectivity, the community that we form.’ So, I am very proud.”
The exhibit is available for viewing until Nov. 4.