Crystal O’Brien – email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Regresarás Tackles Parental Child Abduction and Its Impact
DENVER, CO – Last year, at least 1,500 children were unlawfully taken to foreign countries by a parent who had been living in the United States. In 2015 the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children assisted law enforcement and families with more than 1,370 domestic cases of parental abduction. Regresarás (You Will Return) a visual art exhibit that examines this urgent but widely misunderstood issue will take place at The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC), 772 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, CO 80204, Jan. 6 – 28. An opening reception will occur Friday, Jan. 6, 5 – 10:00 PM.
Participating artists Tony Diego, Izzy and Paloma Lozano, Josiah Lopez, Christine O’Dea, Alicia Cardenas, Justin Maes, Azul and Sheila Olsen will provide a cultural and aesthetic framework to reach families, artists, officials, authorities, advocates and the public at large wanting to connect and to converse – this simple act of communicating will address the isolation of children and families separated and in crisis.
“Authorities and governmental agencies consider parental child abduction as a civil rather than a criminal matter. This affects not only the way the public perceives the issue but in turn, the actions that many families take in support of abducting parents. The families and communities that aid abducting parents do not understand the impact on children and left-behind parents. The effects can be psychological and physical – in fact psychologists have deemed parental abduction a form of child abuse,” exhibit organizer, artist and left-behind parent, Tony Diego said.
Regresarás will allow audiences to understand the psychological, physical and emotional trauma inflicted by parental child abduction for both the child and the parent left-behind, but it will go further, to explore the practical reasons for shifting from a civil to a criminal context.
“In a civil case, there are far less tools available to authorities when attempting to recover a child compared to the resources available in criminal cases…in a civil case, there are few resources to create sanctions for the abducting parent and their supporters. I believe many parents considering abduction would be less likely to follow through without a support system of family and community. I also believe that if the people surrounding parental abductors faced some sort of legal consequences, they might think twice about providing support, and perhaps even provide a source of accountability to the abductors,” Diego said.
The exhibit features paintings, sculpture and mixed media components that reflect the dissonance and fragmentation of families struggling with loss and trauma but it also captures the purity and innocence of childhood: memory, longing, and the carefree moments that convey the essential bond between a parent and a child. The cultural and artistic products generated from Regresarás have the potential to affect policy and to shift legal mechanisms, to nurture safe space for reflection, to restore healthy exchange (where all other measures have failed) and to foster remediation in affected families.
“We hope the exhibit will be just the start of a conversation that will involve artists, families, public officials and advocates in an effort to more successfully remediate and resolve cases of parental child abduction, “ Diego said.
LINKS TO ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Chicano Humanities and Arts Council
U.S. Department of State
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
NSMEC- Media Kit:
Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act
Tony A. Diego has been a working artist and project coordinator in Colorado since 1998. He has coordinated programs for Juvenile Diversion Programs at both the Denver District Attorney and the Las Animas County Office of the District Attorney. Mr.Diego has exhibited his personal work in galleries throughout Colorado, New Mexico and Texas and works in both rural and urban contexts. Most recently Mr. Diego has directed several projects in the Westwood neighborhood in Denver as the Program Director of D3-arts, including a large graffiti abatement public art mural and a graphic arts class that designed the logo, posters, flyers and t-shirts for the 6th annual BuCu West Chile Fest.
I am a classically trained oil painter. My paintings tend to be contexturalist, but my concerns are in the formal elements of the craft. I have taught Drawing and Painitng at every level of education, from public to private institutions for the past 12 years. I have worked as an artist and shown around Denver for the past 18 years.