Sandra Oñate2
[Photo of Sandra G. Onate Munoz after graduating with her Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Northern Kentucky University in 2019]. Courtesy of Sandra G. Onate Munoz

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Call for Entry Highlight: More than Meets the Eye

Posted on June 28, 2024

For the 2024 iteration, FotoFocus announced a new Biennial initiative: Call for Entry Selections. These six selected projects highlight talent from the region’s artists and curators as part of the first large-scale regional Call for Entry in the Biennial’s history. Each month leading up to the Biennial, a Call for Entry project will be highlighted. Learn more about More than Meets the Eye: An Immersive Display of Narrative Power through Photos.

From September 13, 2024–November 3, 2024, more than two dozen photographic images, voices, and stories will transform a pedestrian bridge that spans the Ohio River into a global celebration of resilience, peace and hope. More than Meets the Eye: An Immersive Display of Narrative Power through Photos consists of more than 30 panels, each with a photo, text, and a distinct QR code that links to an audio story. The personal photos showcased on the panels were all selected by immigrants and refugees, who then shared the backstories that bring their photos to life. This state-spanning collaborative project was shaped by input from an advisory group of immigrants and refugees who currently live in Greater Cincinnati. Sandra G. Onate Munoz, the author of this post, was a key advisor in determining the project’s theme and scope. Her insights and support, as a thought leader, translator and story-sharer, exemplify the holistic approach behind More than Meets the Eye.

More than Meets the Eye: An Immersive Display of Narrative Power through Photos, led by A Picture’s Worth and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, was one of six projects selected as a featured 2024 FotoFocus exhibit as part of the biennial’s first-ever public Call for Entry.

By: Sandra G. Onate Munoz

More than Meets the Eye is more than a one-time visual representation of our immigrant community—it is a trailblazing project that reminds us that what our eyes and ears see and hear in the media is often not what the immigrant narrative truly is. For me, this project was a reminder that [the need for] advocacy work continues. We must never stop listening to these stories as they keep us learning and expanding our narrowed view of ongoing immigrant challenges. This project allowed me to share my story, once again, in a different way, with a different audience, and with a more diverse group of people. 

My parents brought me to this country in search of better healthcare. When I was a kid, the doctors told my parents that it would be hard to stop the progression of my eye condition due to lack of access to advancements in medical technology. After months of working to obtain a tourist visa, my family and I immigrated to the United States in November 2002. We encountered a harsh and racist healthcare system with many language, financial, and cultural barriers. Those barriers didn’t stop us, though, as we were determined to advocate for the quality of care I needed. Until we got that, we would not leave, no matter how many doctors closed their doors to us. It was from this experience that I learned resilience from my parents; and from then on, I continued to fight for myself, my family, and for my community.

Throughout my journey in the immigrant and advocacy world, I continue to be inspired time and time again by all the stories and amazing hardworking people I have met. I was beyond excited to join this project and hope that everyone who finds themselves seeing and hearing these immigrant stories is as moved as I was. I encourage every listener and viewer of this wonderful project to continue welcoming more stories like these. This is one of the most important ways to represent who immigrants are and to welcome them into our communities with open arms.