Friday, May 30, 2008

Amazing Week, Amazing Stories

I have a week full of interviews and meeting with Muslims from across the state. I have heard stories that need telling from communities in Greensboro, Eden, Rocky Mount, and Statesville. The enthusiasm for this project has helped fuel my efforts (literally -I wish) across many hours on the road. Today, three very wonderful and unique participants all told me the problem was not what to say in their works but that they had so much they wanted to say- where to start was the problem. I hope over the coming days they will focus in on what is most important to share. I look forward to facilitating their vision.

Stay tuned for some great images and powerful stories.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Visual Memory

What we see stays with us. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was working with a new participant on this project. An artist, he met me in an ice cream shop in Greensboro to discuss his participation. After he shared his story of struggle living in the United States as a Muslim Immigrant, he invited me to come to his condo and look at his past work. There I came across a landscape he had painted of a moose with mountains in the background and flowers in the foreground. I remembered then that I had curated a group show nearly 8 years earlier in which that work had been included.

As an visual artist, maybe I am over sensitive to what I see, but I believe most others are too. That is why I think this project will have such an impact.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Sound of Reason

I met with Ku and Francis from the Sound of Reason yesterday at their concert at NC State Univeristy. We had a moment to talk after their performance. They are smart, sincere guys that are trying to make a positive difference. They gave me a CD and Ku gave me his Koran. I gave him a copy of my book "Give Me Eyes". They agreed to help out with this project. Thanks Ku and Francis. Check out their My Space Page.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Contemporary Art Show in Afghanistan

Check out this BBC News story on a contemporary Art Exhibition in Afghanistan

Self-Altered Photographs by Muslims and others

by Wendy Ewald

Wendy Ewald has worked for years to help others express their self-identity visually. Here are some examples of her collaborative work. They are photographs that have been altered using sharpie-type markers. I include them here as inspiration for participants in this project.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Two Americas

Someone today shared this You Tube post with me. It is a set up by ABC Prime Time to see how everyday Americans would react to discrimination leveled at outwardly dressed Muslims in a public place. This is a moving, disturbing video.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Summer Reading

Although my days are focused on developing self-portrait projects with Muslims living in North Carolina, my nights are filled currently with reading an excellent book edited by Edward E. Curtis titled The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States. An anthology of primary sources on the Muslim experience in America, this book is balanced and extremely insightful.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Summer Workshops

I am working full time on this project this summer. I am currently scheduling workshops across the state to allow 2-3 participants to make self-portraits. I am looking into setting up workshops in Greensboro, Fayetteville, Statesville, and Raleigh, North Carolina.

I will come to your mosque or community center to hold a workshop for interested persons. Beginning with a digital photograph, participants will work with me to alter the image using markers, paint, or collaged photographs. I will then adjusted these in photoshop to the liking of the participant. A printed copy will be given to the participant to keep. Participation is free. Individuals are asked to bring only their ideas and any materials such a photos they would like to have included in their self-portrait. A recorded interview or written response explaining the self-portrait will be taken from each participant.

Workshops are limited to 2-3 participants and will take around 2 to 3 hours to conduct.

I am also interested in hearing from Muslim artists living in North Carolina interested in doing their own portraits and having them considered for this project.