“La Ruta” exhibit features Diaz works

Katie Fata

Chair of English Department Dr. Joanne Diaz and husband Jason Reblando, former campus photographer, are presenting a joint exhibit in Buck Memorial Library through Nov. 22. 

The exhibit, titled “La Ruta: Walter Benjamin’s Last Passage” documents the couple’s experience hiking La Ruta Walter Benjamin through Diaz’s poems and Reblando’s photos.The poems are printed on thin paper that allows Reblando’s photos to show through underneath. 

Diaz and Reblando detailed the exhibit’s inspiration in a project note, describing the original 1940 journey of German Jewish intellectual Walter Benjamin. 

Benjamin walked across the Pyrenees in hopes of escaping the Nazis pursuing him. 

Since then, according to the note, the Pyrenees have served as a smuggler’s route, military buffer zone, route of evasion and a path for escape. 

They were both interested in combination of the migration of thousands of African refugees on the coasts of Greece, Italy and Spain and the election of current U.S. President Donald Trump. 

“These photographs and poems engage with the intersections of landscape and the complexity,” they said. 

The exhibit came at the same time multiple departments worked together to screen films that document immigrant and refugee experiences. 

As of the of the exhibit’s installation, 70.8 million people internationally have been displaced from their homes due to war, famine, natural disasters or other catastrophes. 

“It is that cultural problem that we aim to explore in the project,” the couple said. 

Diaz and Reblando will be hosting a reception for the exhibit on Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. located on the second floor of the Buck Memorial Library.