In December 2010, Brian and I had the incredibly rare and spectacular opportunity to travel across the world to Nagaland, India, a remote, tribal region that borders with China, Myanmar (Burma), and Bangladesh. There, I installed a solo painting exhibition as the first international artist invited to the state. In addition, Brian and Theja, a Naga musician/activist/friend, founded the first annual GLOCAL Youth Film Festival. Together, we traveled up and down the majestic mountains and wove in and out of the jungle to meet with artists, experience local culture, and give talks on our work at Nagaland University. We took hundreds of images, many of which can be seen here:
On the last day of our visit, Brian, Theja, and I started to discuss the possibility of an ongoing exchange. Only six months later, we found ourselves driving to JFK airport to pick up five Naga filmmakers for a 2-week cultural tour of New York State. PBS News Hour picked up our story last summer and published the following interview:
Other highlights of the year:
* Brian and I were selected amongst 30 finalists out of nearly 1000 applicants for President Obama's new "SmART Power" Program. While we were not amongst the fifteen selected to represent the United States in collaborative art projects abroad, the honor of being considered has served as great motivation to continue our art diplomacy work independently. As a result, we will be traveling to Karachi, Pakistan, in March to work collaboratively with individuals who are also interested in using art to build bridges across cultures.
* I participated in my first international art residency program in Mallnitz, Austria, in October. The organization, "D. Fleiss East-West Artists" is based on Dorothea Fleiss' vision to create a global network of artists through an ongoing series of 1-2 week micro-residencies that occur in different countries every year. For this one, she curated 19 artists from around the globe and hosted us in a chalet in the Alps. Over the course of the week, we spent intensive stretches of time making art in the studio in preparation for our exhibition at the end of the week. We ate together, drank together and took many expeditions including a day trip to the Venice Biennale--an experience that I will SURELY never forget.
* I attended the Transcultural Exchange conference in Boston in April. In addition to meeting Dorothea Fleiss there (hence being invited into her residency), I will also be having an exhibition at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst (Spring 2013), and participating in a residency in Slovakia (June 2013) as a result:
More posts to come...