“I chose my camera as a weapon against all things I dislike about America—poverty, racism, discrimination.”
-Gordon Parks, A Choice of Weapons
This year, the Beautiful Project joined forces with Durham native theater artist Chaunesti Webb for a week long workshop with the families of Genesis Home in Durham, NC. Exploring themes of home and beginning, we had the honor of collaborating with guest artists who provided learning spaces for our students to create ensemble building exercises, movement, writing, performance of text, and photography.
We danced with the wonder that is Aya Shabu, made crafts with the gifted entrepreneur Erica King, and used re-purposed materials to create music with the dynamic Alphonse Nicholson. We practiced the long tradition of West African drumming under the peaceful command of Teli Shabu and wrote poetry with the talent that is playwright Howard Craft. Our time culminated in a permanent exhibit in Genesis Home’s space, featuring the photographs we created together throughout the week.
Some moments were challenging, others were delightful to unexpected depths. But it never failed: each day our students took up their cameras I sat in wonder as a witness to the intensity in which they pursued and shaped their visual voice.
We stand in wonder still.