A new graphic novel aims to give voice to Alaskan families who often live in the shadows.

immigrationcombinedImmigrants comprise more than ten percent of Alaska’s population, yet many of the families are forced to live in the shadows by threat of deportation and permanent separation. A new publication blending art and narrative aims to document the lives of these families and their contributions to our state.

Portraits: The Illustrated Stories of Alaskans and their Immigration to the Great Land was published earlier this year through a partnership between the Alaska Immigration Justice Project, the Alaska Humanities Forum Leadership Anchorage program and the Center for Community Engagement and Learning at the University of Alaska Anchorage. A copy of the publication can be viewed here.

The slim publication, which features five stories intended to lend a human voice to the experiences of Alaska’s immigrant community, was created as the community service project by a cohort of participants in the Leadership Anchorage program. But in scanning the Forward, Acknowledgments, Afterword, and About the Authors and Artists sections, you quickly realize this book had many champions and was a labor of love for all those involved.

The two illustrations featured here were taken from the story “A Journey of a Family” written by Lara Shogren and illustrated by Josh Worley. The Anchorage Press did a feature story on the Portraits project, which you can read here.

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