“We the People” collects three exhibits in one in order to draw attention to a part of the world where some of the worst ongoing humanitarian crises are underway. This exhibit is a reflection of the resettled immigrant and refugee community in the Portland metro area, including Hillsboro and Beaverton. Collectively the exhibit seeks to represent the emotions, humanity, creativity and resiliency of this community.
WHO WE ARE: A Portrait Exhibit Honoring Muslim Women in Our Community
This exhibit by The Immigrant Story explores the emotions of Muslim women in the aftermath of the horrific violence that took place aboard a Portland MAX train on May 26, 2017. The six stories featured in this exhibit were documented by our team in 2017 and 2018. The first story was documented on June 29, 2017, just one month after the MAX incident. The subsequent stories follow chronologically.
Each story is accompanied by a photograph of the subject — all of whom wear the traditional hijab. The story and photo are juxtaposed so that viewers may connect more fully with the subject. The result is a series of candid expositions amplifying the underlying emotions of this community.
WHAT WE CARRIED: Fragments and Memories from Iraq and Syria
“What We Carried” reveals the stories of refugees fleeing the Iraq and Syrian wars through the objects they brought with them to the United States. Photographer Jim Lommasson documents these precious items — family snapshots, an archaeology book, heirloom china dishes, the Quran — on a white background, and asks the owners to write directly within the open spaces left in the prints and elaborate upon each object’s significance. The resulting images are as beautiful as they are heartbreaking, providing viewers with only a small glimpse of what each person has lost, while serving as a poignant reminder that, as Jim asserts, “we must take responsibility for the aftermath of our wars in the Middle East as well as at home. We need to welcome our new neighbors who have fled oppression and war. We need to be the America that we promised to be.” The Arab American National Museum is displaying “What We Carried” throughout the U.S.
FAROOQ HASSAN: Seeking Peace in a New Land
Farooq Hassan, a celebrated Iraqi painter now resettled in Beaverton, Oregon, as a refugee, expresses his experiences in Iraq and his new life in the United States. His painting and mixed-media figurative artworks depict women as he explores suffering, love, crisis, vitality and beauty. Hassan’s use of color and texture seem to express the underlying cultural nuances of the landscape he left behind. The paintings on display will be from his new collection, created after arriving in the United States. Hassan’s work is regularly displayed at The Geezer Gallery and in the gallery at Terwilliger Plaza in Portland.
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