Conceptually, this project was born from a personal passion for conflict resolution via interpersonal cultural exchange. Namely, it was my experience in the Balkans, Middle East, and Cyprus that focused my energy on the social institutions that rebuild post-war communities far more effectively than government and religious institutions can repair countries.
The specific approach of this project is collaborative participation of three levels: 1) Through dialogue and forum-style communication; 2) Exploring issues that arise in “current topic” sessions through art therapy techniques and 3) Artistic collaboration on a body of work.
The artists will meet with either a faculty member or Masters candidate in the PSU Conflict Res or Middle Eastern Studies program once a week for 4-6 weeks following a “curriculum,” that addresses current transitions in the Middle East, and issues of identity, responsibility, and community. The mediator is on hand to facilitate discussion, not necessarily conflict- unless it arises.
Additionally, the artist group will meet with a licensed art therapist once a week to explore art as a medium for communication as well as healing. Once the artists have talked about some issues, the hope is to use art therapy as a means to further uncover feelings, emotions, and thoughts brought up through dialogue. Finally, in pairs, the artists will create a body of work together. The subject matter and direction of collaboration is entirely theirs to create.
The project time line can be further broken down into two phases:
Phase 1: Now- July. Resulting exhibition at The Settlement, downtown PDX, from July 16- August 13; 70% Process work/ 30% completed collaborative art pieces.
Phase 2: June-October. Resulting exhibition in Pittsburgh, Sept or October. 30% Process work/ 70% completed collaborative art pieces.
Because this is a much longer and larger conversation than what the current time restrictions can yield, we are approaching this first show as an opportunity simply begin the discussion. In that, the bulk of the first show will cover “Process;” we’ll offer introductions to the artists and their artwork, as well as curate “process pieces,” (sketches, notes, unfinished pieces, reflection papers, etc) that the artists have kept during the therapy and conversations sessions. The audience will also get to see a small number of completed pieces from the artist pairs.
In June, we will begin to include other artists pairs across the country to join for the October show. By October, the pairs will have a completed body of work, and we will be able to predominately exhibit the collaborative art and secondarily, the process.
If you would like to join us as an artist or a presenting partner, please email Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.