Ruthie Abel


Ruthie Abel is a New York-based artist, originally from North Carolina.  Her photography focuses on social justice issues and is informed by her experience as legal counsel to human rights-focused organizations, including the Open Society Foundations and The Rockefeller Foundation.


As a student at Columbia Law School and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, her research examined the global plight of unaccompanied minors. In 2017, she received a grant from the Peter Reed Foundation in support of this work and joined Anastasia Photo as an emerging photographer.


November 30, 2017 – January 24, 2018


Anastasia Photo is pleased to present Let It Be The Dream It Used To Be, Ruthie Abel’s first exhibition with the gallery.


The exhibition documents children who arrived alone in the United States seeking refuge. Its title references Langston Hughes’ Let America Be America Againthe writer’s 1935 poem that challenges our conception of the American Dream.


Over 30,000 children currently face complex deportation proceedings without legal counsel. Most come from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, countries with the highest murder rates in the world. These children face deadly violence if deported, and thus have strong legal cases for immigration relief. However, these children are alone and unrepresented. In immigration court, the Department of Homeland Security is represented by highly trained attorneys who will argue for their removal. Without counsel, their chance of avoiding deportation is less than 10%. With legal counsel, their chance is 86%.


Let It Be The Dream documents children who, through an extraordinary network of pro bono legal service providers, have won the right to stay in America.  Two bodies of work are on view. Place provides a portrait of the children in their homes and environments. Moment documents images that the children made themselves. Abel’s collaboration allows us to see the children on both sides of the lens, as subject and as narrator of their own stories.


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