Art of Medicine
Jan 2019

Journeys of Immigrant Families Across the Border

Nora Hiriart Litz and Isha Marina Di Bartolo, MD
AMA J Ethics. 2019;21(1):E106-110. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2019.106.


In an exhibition called El Viaje de los Niños (The Children’s Journey), members of the undocumented Mexican community in South Philadelphia created stories of their journey to the United States. With help from lead artist Nora Hiriart Litz, their experiences and thoughts on migration, family, love, loss, and hope are conveyed creatively via artwork.

Figure 1. El viaje fue la oscuridad mas profunda y sin un destino seguro, solo la infinita luz de la luna que me permitio continuar a mi destino, by Ali
Figure 1 artm1-1901


The journey was the deepest darkness without a certain destiny, just the infinite light of the moon, which allowed me to march towards my future.


Acrylic-based paint on wood.


Figure 2. La desesperacion, pobresa [sic] y un futuro incierto fue mi boleto. El telefono es mi pañuelo de lagrimas de tristeza y alegria que dia a dia vivo, by Mirna

Figure 2 artm1-1901


Desperation and poverty and an uncertain future, those things were my ticket. The telephone is my handkerchief of tears, of sadness and joy, which I live through every day.


Acrylic-based paint on wood.


Figure 3. Camine asia el norte y tome el toro por los cuernos para trabajar pero me siento aun solo, by Rico

Figure 3 artm1-1901


I walked to the north and I took the bull by the horns so I could work, but I still feel alone.


Acrylic-based paint on wood.


Figure 4. La tristeza de mi mama cuando me despedi, by Rosi

Figure 4 artm1-1901


Editor's Note

The artwork was provided by Nora Hiriart Litz and the captions were translated by Dr Di Bartolo.


AMA J Ethics. 2019;21(1):E106-110.



Conflict of Interest Disclosure

The author(s) had no conflicts of interest to disclose. 

The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.