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May 30, 2012
"I love how this project embraces something so positive, because no matter how many times I have been told I can't, in all reality I can do anything I set my mind to."
- Participant, I CAN: Requiem for I Can't
SAC - Survivor's Art Circle
Participants hung I CAN boats in the trees outside of
SPARC during the Opening Ceremony
Photo: Ken Marchionno
|I CAN participant statement|
A Window Between Worlds' latest community engagement project, I CAN: Requiem for I Can't, opened on March 31, 2012 at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) located in Venice, CA. Alongside the work of lead artists Barbara T. Smith and Nina Jun, the exhibition featured the words and voices of 723 survivors of domestic violence from 50 domestic violence agencies and 280 dedicated members of the community. We estimate that during the run of the exhibit, March 31 - April 22, 2012, an additional 198 visitors participated in this interactive exhibition. Aimed at shattering the limitations left in the wake of domestic violence and sexual assault, this project opens up so many new and exciting possibilities not only for participants in the workshop itself, but also for increased awareness of AWBW and the DV movement at large.
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| Barbara T. Smith leads the other |
performers during the Opening Ceremony
Photo: Ken Marchionno
Several special events were held in conjunction with the exhibition on display at SPARC. The opening ceremony, held on March 31st, featured an incredible piece of participatory performance art by celebrated performance artist Barbara T. Smith. One outcome we could have never predicted from this collaboration, was a gift presented by Barbara to AWBW and its founder, Cathy Salser. During this ceremony Barbara made an announcement that she is passing the torch to AWBW to continue the tradition of using art to bring about public awareness and social change. One attendee and participant later reflected, "The ‘I Can' portion of the programs was very powerful. It helped me to viscerally experience the ‘I Can'ts' that I'd bought into and how ridiculous they are." The entire performance was beautifully filmed, creating an important component of the I CAN project. This video documentation strengthens and amplifies the voices of survivors, alongside accomplished artists, by allowing AWBW to reach the broader community using a variety of distribution methods and online platforms.
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|Barbara T. Smith symbolically burning her I |
Photo: Ken Marchionno
On April 19th, an evening reception was held in conjunction with the Venice Art Crawl. During the reception a video of the March 31st performance by Barbara T. Smith was on display, and flames to represent the burning of "I Can'ts" were projected onto the exterior walls of SPARC. The projection drew people to the exhibit, including a domestic violence survivor who was moved on a very deep and personal level by the project.
The closing event on April 22nd was a public dialogue that included artists Barbara T. Smith, Nina Jun, Judy Baca, co-founder of SPARC and renowned muralist, and Cathy Salser, artist, activist and founder of A Window Between Worlds. The panelists invited public dialogue to explore the power of art to bring awareness of domestic violence and how we CAN all play a role in bringing it to an end. The moderator for the event was the amazing art writer, artist and AWBW board member Suvan Geer. Envisioning the next phase of the I CAN: Requiem for I Can't project with art for activism vanguards such as Judy Baca, domestic violence/sexual assault movement pioneer Patty Giggans and performance art innovator Barbara T. Smith was the most profound element of the panel discussion. Moreover, the audience was filled with activists and advocates who spoke about how they plan to use the I CAN: Requiem for I Can't project to empower members of their own communities to redefine what one believes they "Can" and "Can't" do in relation to ending the violence.
| Barbara T. Smith, Nina Jun, and Cathy Salser|
at the Opening Ceremony
Photo: Lisa Pearson
There are so many individuals that played a very special role in making this project and the opening events possible. We couldn't have done any of it without the hard work, creativity, dedication and guidance of Nina Jun and Barbara T. Smith. We also want to thank Judy Baca and the entire SPARC staff who provided the perfect location for the first exhibition of I CAN: Requiem for I Can't and were integral in the exhibition's tremendous success.
Please stay connected to AWBW by keeping an eye out for our newsflash, Facebook page, and email announcements as the community engagement elements of this project continue to grow over the next several years!
| I CAN: Requiem for I Can't exhibition on display at SPARC|