Rare personal portraits and stories from Krome Detention Center on view

Boca Raton Museum of Art

Former detainee Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A.) shares experiences of 30 immigrants at Boca Raton Museum of Art, Sep. 22, 2016–Jan. 8, 2017

On September 22, just a few days before the first Presidential Debate, the Boca Raton Museum of Art will open Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A.), Krome – an exhibition of 30 pen and ink portraits and personal stories recorded in Miami, Florida’s Krome Detention Center while Alvarez was detained there for two months in 2012. Among the narratives and portraits of those detained in one of the United States’ most well-known immigration facilities are people from eastern Europe, western African, and throughout Central and South America.

Their stories, told to Alvarez as he sketched inside Krome's blue-level (no criminal history) holding cell, are rife with horrors and heartbreak. By pairing their faces with their stories, Krome removes the cold anonymity of statistics from this conversation about belong and nationality, race and rights. As New York immigration lawyer Paul O'Dwyer has written: 

"They are neither good nor bad nor sympathetic, nor not, neither happy, nor sad, nor rich, nor poor, and yet they are all of these things because they are people who are so real on these pieces of paper that it would not surprise me if one of them leaned out off the page and talked to me."

The Boca Raton Museum of Art is partnering with Florida Atlantic University's Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Initiative for student and community programs to open this exhibition (including a talk on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace) with Vicki Rosenthal, MSW, to discuss angles on immigration, deportation, trafficking, and identity. 

Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A.), Krome is made possible by the Museum’s Exhibition Leadership Fund with major support generously provided by the Estate of Ruth Feigl, Jody H. & Martin Grass, and Dalia & Duane Stiller. Additional support is provided in part by the City of Boca Raton; the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Additional support is generously provided by our Members and Donors.


Please contact Kelsey Johnson for interviews with Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A.), Vicki Rosenthal, Curator of Contemporary Art Kathleen Goncharov, or Museum Executive Director Irvin Lippman. High-res images and captions available via Dropbox: goo.gl/mk7iGC.