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The Fitchburg Art Museum's Contemporary Art Tour
Item 5 of 11

‎The Immigrant was created by stone sculptor Nora Valdez. The limestone sculpture, unveiled on September 7th, 2013, is a model that symbolizes the hard work and effort that immigrants go through to reach a new life.

Photo by Serena Folding

Plant, Statue, Tree, Sculpture

Photo by Serena Folding

Statue, Neck, Temple, Sculpture

Photo by Serena Folding

Botany, Sculpture, Statue, Lawn ornament

The Immigrant is a representation and recognition of all the immigrant communities of Fitchburg. This sculpture was created by the artist, Nora Valdez in 2013 and is located on the corner of Main and Prichard Street in Fitchburg. The sculpture was inspired by her grandmother, who wore the style of clothing seen on The Immigrant. It has two pockets, one of them containing a chicken and the other containing a family and on top of the sculpture's head lays a boat with a village inside. The boat represents an immigrant's journey, while the village is a symbol of the immigrants’ original home. Valdez explains, “the village is so we (immigrants) never forget where we came from.” The sculpture is faceless, anonymous because she did not want it to represent just one group of immigrants, but rather all immigrants: “I want to represent all immigrants and I want it to represent everybody.” She wanted this sculpture to be a visual representation of immigrants who carry their culture with them to a new life in a new land.

In addition to representing the immigrants from Fitchburg, this sculpture speaks to how our country was built by immigrants. The Immigrant focuses on the many struggles faced by immigrants and “the feeling of being from here, there, and nowhere; the constant feeling of drifting without ever finding a place to call home.” Valdez expresses the immigrant’s struggle through the imagery on the sculpture. She achieves this through the boat, symbolizing the immigrant’s challenging journey, and the village, which symbolizes the personal journey they go through to discover their identity in a new place. This piece was created for the Main Street Art Project in collaboration with the Fitchburg Art Museum, the City of Fitchburg and the University of Massachusetts with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Valdez’s work has been exhibited and installed in various public spaces from Europe, Asia, North and South America to many states in the USA. The Immigrant is a symbol for all immigrants who have made the sacrifice to move to an unknown place. She uses sculpture to create images that reflect on the nature of change and the life of the individual. The Immigrant is an acknowledgement to all the different communities that have helped shape Fitchburg for over 100 years.

Artist website:

Writer: Kevin Rodriguez

Speaker: Ryan Normand