Created and exhibited during an artist residency at Green Olive Arts, Tétouan, Morocco, summer 2019
We walk past living stories every day, often oblivious to what may be just beneath the surface of a smiling face or fearful eyes. It is both humbling and wonderful to realize just how much more there is to a person than what our first impressions or comfortable assumptions lead us to believe. It’s a beautiful thing to allow ourselves to be shaped by the stories of those around us.
Before creating anything, I sat down and had conversations with nine of the women I’ve had the privilege of meeting during my time in residency at Green Olive Arts. I asked each of them to tell me their story. My goal was to listen well, to build connection, and then to respond through photography and poetry. The portraits I created are not exact illustrations of their stories, but rather are responses to significant things I heard in what they shared. Likewise, the poems I wrote are not a re-telling of each person’s life, although they are written from the perspective of the person they’re about.
I tell the stories of women because their voices and stories often go unheard. My hope is that through this project I can bring forward their beauty and depth by giving them a chance to be heard, seen, and honored.
The following book is in a right-to-left format (following the flow of Arabic text). The poems are ordered with the intention that the right page of each spread is read first.
Special thanks to Roqaya El Guiri for translating and to Oumaima Ougrige for handwriting all my poems in Arabic!