Published: Monday 30 November -0001

-- A window washer dressed as spiderman scales a building. A pizza delivery man wearing superman garb rides a bike with pies in the basket. A nanny clad as catwoman attends to children. Behind the humour of these photographs by Mexican artist lie real life struggles. The photographs on show at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago depict real immigrant workers in their everyday jobs. But the images also show them as superheroes who work gruelling hours to make a better life for their families.

"It's an idea linked to the immigrant experience in the us," according to the museum's president, Carlos Tortolero.

The approximately 100 paintings, photographs, sculptures, quilts and artefacts run the range of the immigrant experience. Quilts tell the story of Hmong immigrants from Laos. Photographs show a Korean family's appreciation of Elvis Presley and soccer. A tableaux of carved figurines depicts the harrowing journeys some immigrants make to arrive in the us.

Tortolero got the idea for the exhibit about two years ago when the us Congress approved a fence along the country's border with Mexico. He said he was disturbed that both presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, voted in the Senate for the fence.

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