Human Rights Art Festival
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     Silver Spring, Maryland, April 23-25, 2010
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Visual Artists

David Amoroso (Ellsworth Plaza)
This live painting demonstration will take place over Saturday and Sunday, and involve the artist’s repeating the image of a man's face and a woman's face over different colors in the background.  The man and woman will both have features that appear multicultural.

Anonymous (various venues)
Silent Witness: Dozens of ceramic heads with their mouths effaced, will be placed in venues throughout the Festival. These represent the voiceless victim, as well as the silent witness to countless acts of oppression and violence.
Art Enables (B&O Railroad Station)
A selection of work from Art Enables, a studio and gallery in Washington, DC, which is home to thirty emerging artists with developmental and/or mental disabilities. Work produced by the artists of Art Enables falls generally in the category of outsider and contemporary folk art. More of their engaging and idiosyncratic work can be seen on the program web site:

Jeremy Austin (Kefa Café)
A mixed media collage work with seven strips that represent the seven Baha'is who are currently imprisoned in Iran, due to their faith. A Baha'i prayer for tests and difficulties overlays and unites the collage. From a distance it appears as a solid white painting, but as you get closer the details emerge.

Joel Bergner (Ellsworth Plaza)
Mural artist Joel Bergner will spend the two days of the Festival creating a large portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese democracy activist and Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience” who has sacrificed her own security for the quintessential ideals of human rights and justice for all. The work will be for sale, with one-third of proceeds being donated to Amnesty International.

Nadine Bloch (various venues)
Huge, protest puppets – look for them throughout the Festival venues!
Tom Block (Montgomery College, Cafritz Art Center; Pyramid Atlantic)
The project uses portraiture to highlight the struggle for human rights the world over. Mr. Block interprets different aspects of the struggle for human rights, emphasizing the stories that bring it to life. Biographies of each person featured accompany the paintings. The work on this series of paintings inspired him to create the first ever Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival.

Borderland Youth (various venues)
This project uses creative mediums such as photography and creative writing as a means to add the personal, familial and cultural perspectives of youth to the collective archive of American life. It works with a diverse group of students from many backgrounds such as Sudanese, Native American, Latino, Burmese, Anglo, Iraqi, Filipino and Rwandan, who live in the US/Mexico borderland region. Their goal is to break down the hierarchies that exist in traditional documentary and social science by incorporating voices from the inside.

Anne Bouie (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
Anne Bouie’s “Libation Urn” is based on cultural continuity across the waters and time and space---and acknowledgement of ancestors and their spiritual guidance.

Gabriela Bulisova (Docs-in-Progress)
Part of her ongoing documentary project titled “Guests,” this work focuses attention on Iraqi refugees who fled the war and sectarian violence and relocated to Damascus, Syria. The dignity, resilience and persevering humanity of these individuals leaves Bulisova with no other choice but to cling to the belief that, with pictures, one can ultimately alleviate pain and rally support for social justice.

Karen Cellini (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
The Small Green Suitcase is a dramatic soundscape for an audience of one.  The audience participant sits on a chair, blindfolded, and through a headset is taken into a beautiful, gnarly, dark and magical realm. 

Andrea Collins (Regional Center Plaza)
PeaceKiss is a kissing booth, which engages passers-by to kiss for peace. People commit to this simple action while holding placards signifying their surrogacy for a country with ongoing violence on its land, and they are photographed. The resultant images are projected behind or near the installation, as well as posted online, if the participants agree.

Martha Dunham (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
The fingerprint is both the abstract representation of an individual identity and simultaneously a symbol that, because it does not recognize race or creed, represents the unity of the human race. Dunham’s “Bridge for Peace” has been forged of bronze fingerprints, named after ten Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

Laura Elkins (Pyramid Atlantic; B&O Railroad Station)
“It is an abuse of power, the sin beyond all other sins,” concluded Reverend Keith McKenna in a recent sermon at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in New York.  Laura Elkins installations (at both Pyramid Atlantic and B&O Station) and paintings from her HOMEwRAP series embody abuse of power, “the sin beyond all other sins.” Make sure to look UP when outside Pyramid Atlantic – that’s Laura’s piece on the roof!

Empowered Women International (various venues)
A series of artistically embellished life-size cutouts representing women human rights activists, suffragist women, women journalist activists, activists against domestic violence, etc. Each piece will tell the story of how these women have changed/are changing the world. The artworks are designed by EWI’s immigrant artists.

Jay Fuhrman (Montgomery College, Performing Arts Center Gallery)
Fuhrman’s works deal with specific aspects of our collective illness, using an elegant abstract visual language. “Fallen Warrior” is a sculpture, while a mirror and the First Amendment, both wrapped in barbed wire, bring together our collective image of ourselves as a nation, with the sometimes-discordant reality.

Elsa Gebreyesus (Pyramid Atlantic)
Silenced Series: Eritrea, a small nation in the Horn of Africa, ranks as one of the most repressive regimes for freedom of press in the world. Currently, there are no independent media outlets operating inside the country. On September 19, 2001 in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on US soil, the Eritrean government ordered a brutal crackdown on journalists, and anyone who was critical of the government. The paintings in this series include the text from five of the newspapers that were banned in 2001.

Rob Gerhardt (Jackie’s)
Gerhardt’s photographs concern life for the Karen People of Burma along the Thai/Burma border in Southeast Asia, and are entitled "Life on the Border: The Karen People of Burma."  The photographs document the sometimes-tenuous existence of these people without a land.

Eleanor Gilpatrick (Highland Coffee)
The artist’s “The World” series of paintings addresses armed conflicts in the world through the use of conflicting images: the sublime and the terrifying on the same canvas.

Vardit Goldner (Taste of Jerusalem)
Goldner is a documentary photographer who focuses on human rights and social issues. Most of her photos are taken in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and document the struggles and mundane life of the Palestinian people.

Linda Hesh (Jackie’s)
Exhibits work from two separate series, including Making Snow Angels, which highlights how people all over the world do simple things to bring us joy such as making snow angels, and Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, which shows people looking in a mirror hung in a horizontal row. 1) white male looking at himself wearing a t-shirt that says "Human" 2) white female with "Female" t-shirt 3) black female with "Black" t-shirt.

Lillian Bayley Hoover (Montgomery College, Performing Arts Center Gallery)
Hoover’s work employs the naïve language of toys, models, and plastic dolls to investigate the unsettling realm of international political conflict. Many Americans experience events in Iraq solely through imagery mediated by news outlets, or other filtration systems. But as our soldiers return, the war also begins to come home, along with its attendant long-term implications, and a multiplicity of painful struggles that will remain with us for many years.

Jackie Hoysted (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
The interactive installation Captivity of Another Kind will be debuted at the festival. The installation juxtaposes the coolness & beauty of tobacco use as portrayed by the tobacco industry through marketing and packaging materials against the reality of what tobacco use actually causes in terms of addiction and self-destruction. Hoysted asks are we all content to just look on and watch as big tobacco companies willfully cause the death of 1 billion people over the next hundred years; ten times as many as died in the 20th century (World Health Organization forecast)?

Andrew Ellis Johnson (Langano’s)
These prints of are of hopscotch patterns drawn by finger into wet concrete, strewn, however, with landmines and animal traps. The piece advocates for the banning of land mines and for the right of children (and adults) to walk freely and safely across the earth. The candy-colored animal traps echo the allure that mines often exert on innocent children searching for treasures.  Still, they are to be avoided like the pebbles or chalk that are thrown across hopscotch boards.

Kyi May Kaung (Kefa Café)
Dr. Kaung, a graduate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, is currently a member of the TAN or Technical Advisory Network of the Exile Government of Burma. She is also a well known poet and painter. She is sharing a portrait of the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Linda Kronman (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
The Killer Fashion Revolution project deals with transforming war related fashion to promote human rights. A lot of the clothes we wear are war related without us knowing it. The idea of Killer Fashion Revolution is to track these clothes and transform them to new garments or artifacts that stands for human rights.

Scott Langley (Jackie’s)
This series of documentary photographs depicts an hour-by-hour walk-through of what happens on an execution night, taking the viewer from the prison deathwatch cell into the actual lethal injection chamber. Scott Langley's death penalty photo documentary is a 10-year product of exploring capital punishment through the photographer's lens.  Scott currently serves as an Amnesty International State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator in New York.

Lin Lisberger (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
Torture Preserved is a series that comes out of a necessity to acknowledge the cruelty that exists in the world.  The artist was led to these particular images upon hearing a story about a memorial to the Rwandan genocide where the people of the community in which the killings took place decided to memorialize the victims by preserving their bodies in lime.  These iconographic images of torture create an intense awareness of the conflict between personal existence in a safe, protected environment, and the vulnerability to misplaced power struggles confronting so many in the world.

Anne Marchand (Kefa Café)
The paintings refer to the energy of the cosmos to create and to destroy. We as human beings have a reflective ability to direct our energies, the Microcosm reflects the Macrocosm and vice versa. In our ability to discern we will make the right choices.  The work is created in conjunction with Project RENEW, the first comprehensive management approach undertaken in Vietnam to restore the environment and neutralize the effects of war.

Michelle Johnson Major (City Place Mall Theater Lobby)
In August 2008, Michelle Johnson Major's husband tried to murder her in an act of domestic violence. Before strangling her to unconsciousness, he took a butcher knife and slashed ninety-four of her paintings destroying twelve years of artistic work. She is exhibiting some of these works, in conjunction with the International Domestic Violence Memorial.

Carolina Mayorga (Mandalay; B&O Railroad Station)
Leeps-Teek: This project including video, performance art and printed material that promotes a new brand of lipstick that prepares the audience to look beautiful in all situations even when giving testimonies of violence and displacement. (B&O Railroad Station)
La Visita: This video draws from childhood memories and uses the language of games to address issues of war, occupation and displacement. (Mandalay)

John McDevitt (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
McDevitt’s most recent sculpture focuses on domestic violence (physical, sexual, emotional).  We know it exists.  We know it is a problem.  How do we break the cycle of domestic violence?  How do we start the conversations that will put us on a positive course toward ending domestic violence? 

Ray Miller (Montgomery College, Performing Arts Center Gallery)
Al Qaeda Ore-Idas – The solution to religious extremism and the associated terror might be addressing the needs of children. These individual pieces are derived from the very popular toy of many American children, Mr. Potato Head. Sweet Suicide Vest examines our assumptions. On first glance we see what we believe to be a suicide vest laden with explosives, but upon closer inspection we see the tubes are filled with yellow gumballs.

Ninth Annual Nora School Photography Festival (Nora School)
Brings together student photographers from public, independent, and religious schools to celebrate the viewpoints of students throughout the Metro area. The theme of the Nora School Photography Festival 2010 is "The Human Condition," with interpretation left open to the artists.  

Kelvin Olayinka (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
"Megalomaniac:” What leads a leader astray? When we attempt to understand a tyrant, we bypass our most basic connection. We all reside in a delusion of grandeur.
 This project pits viewers against there own reflections.

Project Renew (Montgomery College, Cafritz Art Center Hallway Gallery)
In partnership with Cam Lo District Youth Union (Vietnam), the Mine Risk Education program launched a Painting and Drawing Contest. The purpose is to help students express their creativity with ideas about an environment free from explosive remnants of war (ERW). This helps to educate children about the dangers of ERW, drawing on their responsibility in the community common efforts in disseminating risk education messages.

Gabrielle Senza (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
The Collaborative Scroll consists of a 12’ long paper scroll, pens, a flower arrangement and some glass stones. Visitors are invited to add their own thoughts, confessions, feelings and gratitudes.  It is a silent witness as each individual adds an entry.  The cumulative effect of the short writings helps remove the burden of isolation and shame that victims of abuse often carry throughout their lives.  

Suzanne Slavick (Montgomery College, Performing Arts Center Gallery)
Slavick’s work responds to specific instances of bellicose activity, including the 2006 raid by the Israeli Defense Forces on Qana, Lebanon that resulted in 51 deaths, 22 of them children, as well as the looting of the Iraqi National Museum, in which U.S. and British troops stood by while this crime against world history took place.

Grace Stewart (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
Grace Stewart spent time living in a village in Ghana, West Africa, working in an overcrowded, under-funded orphanage.  The sculptures reference the orphans, capturing their pain and need as well as the complex beauty of their culture.  The figures have abbreviated limbs in order to reveal body positions and gestures but also to foster the feeling that they are helpless and immobile.  The carvings on the bodies reference Ghanaian symbols found on fabrics and textiles. 

Eilat Tzin (Abyssinia)
Behind the Number: 32,861,500 are the estimated number of Asylum Seekers and Refugees, 2007. Who are you? Where did you go? Are you safe? This work is an attempt to point at the person behind the dull figures about displacement.

Meghan Urback (City Place Mall)
Propaganda Prayer Flag was created in response to China's invasion of Tibet and the continuing human rights atrocities. Modeled after Chinese propaganda posters, this ironic flag features a triumphant Chairman Mao bringing light and future to Lhasa, and two chained Tibetan Buddhist guardian figures symbolic of the many imprisoned monks fighting for political autonomy and religious freedom.

Taryn Wells (Montgomery College, Performing Arts Center Gallery)
Wells’ self-portraits illustrate this point of view of an artist who identifies herself as multiracial. The series asks the viewer to look at race from another viewpoint no matter what the previous belief.  Ms. Wells’ drawings express a myriad of conflicting beliefs, and as in life, there are no easy answers.

Caryn West (Bombay Gaylord)
The Trouble with the Alphabet is an exhibit of some of the 30
original paintings from the book of the same name (26 portraits from the book as well as the words Peace, Freedom, Equality and Hope). Not only is the alphabet a fundamental starting point for learning, it is symbolic of the global misunderstandings. What better place to begin to change, to learn compassion and to erase indifference.

Jing Zhou (City Place Mall)
We Cannot Fight Terrorism Using State Terror: The concept for this poster is to visualize the consequences of fighting terrorism with human rights violations. Real Criminals: This image uses an intriguing visual composition to reveal the relationship between Prostitution’s exploiters, who are mostly male, and the practitioners, who are mostly female.

Andreas Zingerle (City Place Mall Sculpture Garden)
"Der Überflieger - Wearable Interfaces for spy pigeons" is an experimental media-art project that combines the dead medium of the homing pigeon with modern technologies such as GPS and digital photography.

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