I Choose Film

bookwork

So excited to be featuring my accordion-pleated artist’s book at the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s group show, I Choose Film. I am looking forward to seeing the art book on display after the years of photographing and interviewing in Rwanda and the many hours of post-production. It’s printed on a luminous, white Japanese Washi, at Indian Hill Image Works, and will be displayed on 12-feet of floating glass so that the light enhances the texture.

The show opening, less than two weeks away, is July 8th from 4 to 6 PM, and is going to be a delight! There will be the opportunity to meet with the many other featured artists and the possibility of having a wet-plate tintype portrait created by the Penumbra Foundation, NYC, (on both Saturday and Sunday). For the young: a “Take Your Best Shot” instant photography contest.

Hope you can make the opening!

Admission is free.

The show is hosted through August 27.

http://www.svac.org/cat-blog-upcoming-exhibitions/405-i-choose-film

http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/i-choose-film-opens-at-svac,510430

Summer Update

The exhibit of my photography Reclamation: Twenty Years after the Rwandan Genocide closed at The Putney School, Michael S. Currier Center Gallery on May 15th. Thank you to all who attended and made it possible.

Stephen Schaub – for your guidance and artisanal printing of my works

Melissa Johnson – for your energy and assistance with a hammer, nail and eye!

Susan Brearey – for your coordination and support in curating this exhibit

Joyce Kennedy – for your expertise and care in framing

Eve Ogden Schaub – for your hospitality and talkin’ art

Claudine Uwamahoro – for your friendship, curiosity and ambition

My colleagues and family for your continued encouragement and honest feedback

A few of the comments from the exhibit:

“Stunning, transcendent & harrowing!”

“So moving. Stunning photography and commentary adds such poignant dimension too.”

“Thank you for sharing with us a culture that has been left behind the scenes.”

“So very impressive – wonderful talent!”

I’m excited to be collaborating with a few artists here in the States and in Rwanda this summer; I will keep you all updated…

Lines

m linesIt’s interesting what connects people…I met architect Rikke Jorgenson through a friend in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and we talked about my fieldwork in Rwanda and got to talking about lines and space and light. Tim Ingold’s idea about “a world in which everyone and everything consists of interwoven or interconnected lines and lays the foundations for a completely new discipline: the anthropological archaeology of the line.”

Rikke, a Fellow at Arts Letters & Numbers in Averill Park, NY, invited me up to share my experiences and fieldwork and a few images from my current exhibit, Reclamation: Twenty Years after the Rwandan Genocide. I arrived on Friday night and was welcomed by the founding director, David Gersten, other Fellows and visiting artists—a creative international mix. Saturday morning, we met in the former textile storehouse now a beautiful open creative space.

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Photo: Samuel Allison

Everyone was so generous– giving feedback and ideas. David talked about the transformation of a project, how it can be of a theme and then is something separately.

View more of David Gersten’s talk on art and transformation

Exhibit: Reclamation Nov 2 – Dec 31

Reclamation 

Twenty Years after the Rwandan Genocide

Photography Exhibition  –  Carol McGorry

I am excited to announce my first exhibition from my fieldwork in Rwanda over the past three years. The show opened today at the Spiral Press Café in Manchester Center, Vermont. The photographs are connected by their stories of resilience and strength– truth, courage, dignity, love, joy, balance – reclamation in everyday Rwanda.

The exhibition runs from November 2 – December 31, 2015.

Opening Reception November 6, 5:30-8pm

Team Rwanda!!

What energy!!  From wheels down to take off, this trip to Rwanda was filled with many excursions to document and interview, do some storytelling, create art with women and children, facilitate and run workshops, and last, but not least, enjoy the company and music of talented Rwandans.

Our visit to Ready for Reading was no different in the level of energy and excitement. My team and I drove two hours east from Kigali to Rwinkwavu on our first work day. We had the two suitcases filled with books and activity games and art supplies for teaching painting workshops to 20 women and many children. It was a packed car as we were staying for a few days to visit and teach.

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Day 1: We met the staff and faculty at Ready for Reading and within minutes we were in a lively discussion about Rwandan authors and books that reached the children’s hearts. Furaha grabbed her favorite book off the shelf; it was the “sound of the language” that moved her, she said. I asked her to read it to us so she invited us to sit, knees to elbows, around a grammar-school, sized table. Even though I do not understand Kinyarwandan, I could hear the beauty in the music of the words as she read.

In the afternoon, we planned to teach the children’s class. First, we toured the space and fell in love with the atmosphere of the back, outdoor brick platform where the light reflected off the warm copper-toned bricks, the orange earth glowed in the sun, and steps leading up to the garden gave an expansive backdrop that allowed one to glance off into the distance to create. It was an inspiring outdoor vista that Ready for Reading had created. Augustin suggested we hold the classes outside and, we all agreed. Immediately, we went inside and along with staff grabbed tables and chairs, hauled them out to the back brick platform and setup to teach and paint en plein air. The children arrived outside, chose a spot, and Augustin jumped right into talking about colors and how they can evoke emotions and connect a viewer. Without a prompt, they each began to paint, thinking and choosing colors based on what they learned. They created images with subjects that were close to them, most in literal proximity: houses, maps of their village, family, flowers and trees outside of their home.

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Day 2: In the morning, we got to see business as usual at Ready for Reading. The doors to the classrooms are open and in passing through the halls, the productive flow of collaborative ideas between teachers and interaction between students is apparent. The teachers and staff are passionate, hardworking and accomplish much across a broad range of education. In the one morning, we were able to sit in on: computer training, literacy for adults, pre-K, and prep for students between secondary school and university.

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Claudine decided to have an impromptu team-building exercise with the staff showing the importance of support from co-workers. Although, they weren’t expecting it, it was well received and met with laughter and applause. Click here for a short video portion of that exercise.

In the afternoon while we waited for the women’s group, we used our time wisely and shucked beans on the back brick platform for the evenings dinner.

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Twenty women joined us around the table, in our now, outdoor classroom. We first introduced the book, Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Pain, Resilience, and Hope by Rwandan memoirist, Consolee Nishimwe. Claudine read aloud poignant and moving excerpts from the book, which encouraged the women to share a personal memory of their own; some opened up about their experience during the genocide and others talked about hope and their lives post-genocide. After the discussion, Augustin taught them to convey the emotions of those memories that they shared in color and paint.

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Day 3: In the morning, we visited the classrooms again and had a tough time leaving the staff, teachers and students. Thank you Ready for Reading for doing what you do and joyfully including us as guest presenters.

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Ready for Reading: (L to R) Jean Marie Habimana, Protais Turatsinze, Furaha Ernestine, Claudine Umawahoro, Carol McGorry, Yves Kana, Augustin Hakizimana, and Emmanuel Ndayambaje

Ready for Rwanda 2015

book bag It’s time to leave for Rwanda again!! This year, I’m excited to be working with Ready for Reading. Founded in 2007, by Betsy Dickey, this non-profit organization funds the Rwinkwavu Community Library and Learning Center in Rwanda. I’ve volunteered to carry two, 50-pound suitcases of dictionaries, books, IT supplies, puzzles and, my favorite, JENGA!

I’ll be delivering these amazing supplies, provided by Betsy, with Augustin Hakizimana and Claudine Uwamaharo. You’ve met Claudine in previous posts, now let me introduce you to Augustin. He is a painter from the Uburanga Arts Studio and works often with young children teaching them to create abstract paintings from personal reactions, memories and experiences.

We are planning a three-day stay in Rwinkwavu, to lead multiple workshops with Augustin and myself collaborating on reading, painting and writing. We will be working with children and adult women in these instructional and creative classes.

 

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Augustin Hakizimana at work on a public mural.

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Ready for Reading in action.

Site-Responsive Collaborations in Rwanda

It’s time to go back to Rwanda. This time, it’s all about International Creative Collaboration…fiber, creative writing, photography, painting.  Again I am going with Master Weaver Melissa Johnson so, of course, we will be working with CHAHBA: INEZA PUTNEY Weaving Cooperative Project. And, with Claudine Uwamahoro, our friend from Kigali who visited us in the US over the winter, we will be working to develop a community project around writing and visual art.

New this journey, after researching artists in Rwanda and coming across this recent NY Times article, I contacted Uburanga Art Studio. We are excited to collaborate with them in various media. One such way is through a new self-funded project, The Dreamers, by New York City-based portrait and documentary photographer, Abby Kraftowitz. “Here’s how it works,” she says. “I provide a printed photograph of a portrait or a scene.  The print becomes a canvas for the artist to create in his or her voice, directly on the photograph with any medium reacting to this image of a perfect stranger.” These photographs are coming with us on the plane tomorrow!

Creative Writing will be a new collaboration this year as well. I discussed with the Uburanga Art Studio my intentions, and instead of formulating a plan before I leave, I will be doing a site-responsive creative writing session with the artists at the studio. My plan is to join with the artists as we individually respond in our own writing to either a Kinyarwanda word or local imagery that I’ve photographed all within a cooperative working space. Kigali is no stranger to cooperative working sessions. According to the NY Times article mentioned earlier: “The lively art scene has turned this once-quiet and traumatized city into a place where not just art openings but also literary readings, dance performances and concerts take place regularly in the courtyards of galleries, and artists give lunchtime lectures at cooperative working spaces.”

Looking forward to keeping you all posted on the collaborations while in the field.