Category Archives: art

Filming Liz and Lauren

what an incredible day today! shot b roll with Rajesh Barnabas. first we filmed liz nicolas doing yoga in her beautiful garden, then we shot lauren jimerson and her son angel processing corn and creating art at the iroquois white corn project in victor, finally i had dinner with the beautiful Kristin Hocker and Pamela Kim at sinbad’s – ate excellent food and talked and talked until they closed. why i love rochester so much.

The Injured Body: Liz Nicolas

Transcribing interviews for my new doc ‘The Injured Body’

Anti-racism consultant, yoga instructor, and attorney Liz Nicolas (owner of Black Amethyst) speaks about ‘prophetic imagination’:

‘I think that we’ve been socialized to make sure that white people are okay. So that we can be okay. And that is a sad, violent way to exist. I’m not interested in doing that anymore. So I’ve been trying to take steps in the other direction. I’m still not sure what that world can fully look like… It feels like something that’s so different than what my experience has been. And it feels like there’s this way in which I’m just waking up to it, being aware of it, seeing it, and trying to figure out how can I exist differently? How can I breathe differently? How can I be differently? How can I be different than what’s been happening – the ways in which I get squished out, or the ways in which I have to almost lop off parts of myself in order to fit into some white, patriarchal structure. Not interested in that anymore.’

microaggressions #racism #patriarchy #feminism #womenofcolor #film #documentary #theinjuredbody #neelumfilms #rochesterny #microaggressionsareracism #microaggressionsarereal

Nothing we do is unplaced

Whatever is true for space and time, this much is true for place: we are immersed in it and could not do without it. To be at all—to exist in any way— is to be somewhere, and to be somewhere is to be in some kind of place. Place is as requisite as the air we breathe, the ground on which we stand, the bodies we have. We are surrounded by places. We walk over and through them. We live in places, relate to others in them, die in them. Nothing we do is unplaced.

[Edward Casey in The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History] Watercolor by Sarfraz Musawir

The Injured Body: Lauren Jimerson

Transcribing interviews for my new doc ‘The Injured Body’

Lauren Jimerson, art therapist and fine artist, originally from the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, near Buffalo, shares the story of a recent micro-aggression:

And she’s like, ‘Where do I know you from?’ and, I said, ‘I don’t know’, like I go a lot of places… I said, ‘Well, I’m affiliated with Ganondagan, have you ever been there?’ And she said no. And then she made a comment about how she thought, or she knew (I feel like she might have said she knew) I had to be Asian, or Oriental, or she said something like that. And, I personally took offense to it.

And it’s not the thought of being Asian. It’s connected to this idea that Native Americans look a certain way. You know, due to images that are out there, in mainstream media, and there’s also the concept of like, all the Indians are dead, you know, like they don’t exist anymore. And even though I mentioned Ganondagan and at one point I said something about being Native American, she still was like, I was Asian.
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microaggressions #racism #womenofcolor #film #documentary #theinjuredbody #neelumfilms #rochesterny #microaggressionsareracism #microaggressionsarereal

A Thin Wall (Ahmed, 2015)

When a skilled filmmaker writes a review of your film – thank u so much Neal Dhand:)

‘There’s such a mixture of form here: talking head, staged interviews; two voiceovers; handheld, spur of the moment interviews; animation; traditional B-roll. It’s collage, but also a good example of the myriad ways to recall and/or discuss a difficult event – just sitting down and talking won’t do it justice, you have to get at it from multiple angles.

It’s the uncommon film that maintains the feeling of refusal to look away, while also, and seemingly contradictorily, refusing to show those images that we might typically look away from. Much of that comes from the openness with which the subjects in the film speak, including on-the-street interviewees (though I’m sure many didn’t make the cut).

I have no doubt that if Ahmed had wanted to she could have found a trove of images, testimonials, etc, that delve into the horror show that was much of Partition. It’s not that these aren’t worthwhile, it’s that she hopes we know the history already, and that we can put our focus on the human, living element.’ More here.

The African Gaze

Amy Sall: This course is an exploration of post-independent / post-colonial visual culture in Africa (from the late 1950s onward). We will be looking at the ways in which artistic expression in the form of African cinema and photography engendered discourses concerning identity, power, and self-determination.

Colonial photography deprived Africans of agency, rendered them voiceless and classified them as subaltern. In colonial photography, African people were subjected to a physical positioning and gaze
which took away their autonomy and allowed western viewers to perceive them as primitive.

African photographers and filmmakers from just before independence and onward (and in some cases even earlier), were able to reclaim this power and allow their communities to see themselves as they were, and explore their social, economic, and political conditions from their own perspective.

Drawing from key texts to frame our discussions, as well as important works from influential African photographers and filmmakers such as Malick Sidibé, Seydou Keïta, Ousmane Sembène, Souleymane Cissé and others, we will identify the ways in which The African Gaze was instrumental in reclaiming power, visibility and dispelling colonial myths. More here.

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé: the 21-year-old British student with a million-dollar book deal

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, from London, was 19 and studying English, Chinese and anthropology in Aberdeen when she began writing what would become Ace of Spades. The young adult novel, which follows two black students trying to find out who is spreading damaging rumours about them at their elite private school, was snapped up this week, along with a second novel, by Macmillan in the US for a seven-figure sum. It will be published next June.

“I was in my first year at university and I didn’t have many friends because I don’t drink as I’m Muslim, so I’d be in my room trying to figure out what to do. I was watching a lot of TV shows and I binged Gossip Girl in a few days,” said Àbíké-Íyímídé, who is currently waiting for her term to start – remotely. “I loved it so much but I was really sad that there weren’t many people who looked like me in it. I thought it’d be so cool if the shows I grew up with, like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, had more black people in them, so I started planning a story. I’d usually do uni during the day, then come home and write until 4am.” More here.

The Injured Body: Chronology

I read Claudia Rankine’s ‘Citizen: An American Lyric’ in 2015 I think (it came out in the fall of 2014) and started thinking about a film that would use micro-aggressions to approach the broader subject of racism in America. I remember this conversation with friends in 2016 where I was able to articulate some of the ideas swirling around in my head. Rajesh and I started to shoot in 2017. I’ve always wanted this project to be bigger than the film, discussing some of those ideas with Luticha in particular. Now that I’m transcribing the interviews we shot 2-3 years ago, there’s such resonance with what’s happening right now. I hope to share with our community soon:)

The Injured Body: Tonya Noel Stevens

Transcribing interviews for my new doc ‘The Injured Body’

Tonya Noel Stevens, co-founder of Flower City Noire Collective and Director of Cause and Effect Greenspace, talks about processing racist micro-aggressions:

That’s really something I’ve been working on, like not harboring those feelings or the negative things people give me, and it’s not even just microaggressions, it’s any negative energies fed my way. If it’s not something that I can process and turn into light, and that I could share back with that person… then you can keep it, it’s all yours, and I try not to take it in.

Because then I end up with it… And I’m really about taking ownership – ownership of one’s body, and what’s mine and what’s not mine. When you hit me with that negative energy and add those negative vibes, and then that negative talk, that’s not mine, none of that is my language, none of that is how I’m moving in the world. So you just have to keep that. And I’m good for saying I don’t accept that. You keep it, I’m just not even gonna take that in, because when I do, then I have to find space for it.

So gardening is a big thing for me. And that’s really what I try to harness and tell people like, we’re in a garden, this is your place to bury all that, put it into an affirmation and put it into a seed, put it into the ground and like let it grow into something else because if not, it’s still growing inside of you.
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microaggressions #racism #LGBTQrights #womenofcolor #film #documentary #theinjuredbody #neelumfilms #rochesterny #urbangarden #communitygarden #eatwhatyougrow #microaggressionsareracism #microaggressionsarereal

Review of A Thin Wall by @ind.igenous

Repost from @ind.igenous


Filmmaker Mara Ahmed’s documentary, ‘A Thin Wall’ is a haunting and thought-provoking account of the partition. Strung together are stories, memories and experiences of those who suffered, leaving behind what they called home, plunging into the unknown. Yet, like wilted flowers inside an old book, love still remains on each side of the border. The documentary reminds one of Zarina Hashmi’s art, of a constant search for home, and the pain of separation.
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Heard this powerfully evocative piece named ‘Never’ from a short memoir, ‘Six Snapshots of Partition’ by poet John Siddique in the film. Here it is for you to read:
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Faizal carries his wife in his pocket: she is a white handkerchief. Faizal carries his three daughters in his other pocket: three small stones gathered from the side of the road. Their names are lost to walking. His sons Mohammed and Rafiq flank him. They carry the memories of their sisters and mother in their silence. Faizal closed down his carpet shop three months ago; he misses his days bargaining at his counter. No one has told Faizal why India has changed – he is not one of those men who drinks tea and talks politics at night. Every time he meets a dead person he asks them what his wife’s name was. He asks and puts his hands in his pockets.
Zoom out and it looks like the whole of India is walking. Walking towards a blue line on a rough map drawn on to a napkin. Mohammed Siddique, my father, is a young man of seventeen years on the road from Jullundur to Lahore. He will never be a Pakistani, he will always be an immigrant – a series of questions which Faizal cannot answer.
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A Thin Wall is streaming now on @mubiindia
(Partition photo by Margaret Bourke-White)
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athinwall #documentary #partition #indiapakistan #lahore #delhi #puranaqila #border #indiadocumentary #johnsiddique