Visiting artist Jen Delos Reyes started a conversation about difficult issues that many of us face every day. Race, class, and identity are big topics, but this workshop helped us unpack the ideas and relate them to our own lives.
Jen started by showing videos of comedians who tackle racism in their stand up. These comedians use humor to call attention to small daily injustices that may go overlooked.
She then showed another example of a creative approach to comment on everyday indignities, a project by the young photographer Kiyun. She asked her fellow undergraduate students at Fordham University in New York City to write down instances of microaggressions they had experienced, and then photographed these students with their personal words.
Jen asked us to write down a microaggression we had experienced ourselves. We then discussed these microaggressions and took photographs of us holding our own language. In the second half of the workshop, we were asked to write down a positive quality we saw in ourselves that we hoped others could see as well. We then photographed ourselves holding these written qualities.
Just like Kiyun’s project and the comedians we saw, the goal of sharing our own experiences was to inspire empathy and compassion. By sharing and listening with our friends, we are able to better understand our actions towards others and know that we all share experiences when it comes to race and identity.
Friendtorship is a place to create and connect. Friendtorship brings together Portland State University art and design students and high school students from Centennial Park School to collaborate on creative projects, build strong relationships, and have fun.
The program aims to increase access to design and arts learning for underserved high school students, empowering them to engage in experiential creative processes that better their communities. The personal relationships that develop between the university and high school students are fundamental to the active engagement that drives the program. Creative collaboration and positive relationships are the pillars of our program. To learn more about our program, and see lesson plans and project case studies, please visit friendtorship.org.
Friendtorship is a people-based program: our greatest asset is our community of students, teachers, mentors, volunteers, and supporters. Our students thrive with exposure to a wide variety of creative practitioners and change makers. We need your help. We are looking for donations of funds, supplies, time, and energy. To support our program, please contact Lis Charman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit friendtorship.org/donate. Are you a PSU student who would like to join us? We always welcome new students who want to collaborate with our community. Get in touch with Lis Charman.