This exhibition of photographs by Jila Nikpay will be at the library in White Bear Lake through the end of February.
To learn more about this project visit www.facesofnewamerica.com 
Artist's Statement: "This collection of portraits of immigrant youth grew out of my fascination with the theme of cultural identity and belonging. I am drawn to working with these young people because of their flexibility and mystery. Through these portraits, I explore their complex rite of passage, which mirrors the evolving America identity.
In order to get a closer look at this dimension in the lives of my young subjects, I engage in personal interviews with the children and their parents prior to making the portraits. In this exchange, my own history of integration into American culture acts as a prism, through which the multi-faceted realities of the subject become visible. Our shared experience of crossing borders, cultures, time and memory serve as a foundation for understanding the 'self' as a composite of identities, rooted in both 'old' and 'new' worlds.
Our identity is shaped as much by remembering as forgetting. Our face expresses that which lies beneath the surface in transitory moments. These portraits provide a window through which we might examine the changing face of this country at a crucial crossroad in our history.”
Jila Nikpay is an award-winning photographer/ filmmaker whose work explores the theme of identity and belonging. She has exhibited at the Walker Art Center, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Minnesota Historical Society and many other institutions nationally. Nikpay is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Jerome and McKnight foundations as well as the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her innovative educational projects with immigrant youth have received support from both the McKnight and St. Paul foundations.
Visit www.facesofnewamerica.com/public-forum/publicforum/  and share your thoughts about these questions:
• What does it mean to be an American?
• What is the most American part of you?
• Have you ever felt like an outsider?
Faces of New America is conceived and produced by Jila Nikpay
All photographs © Jila Nikpay 2010
Exhibition organized by MELSA and supported by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.