In the last decade, Portland, Maine has become a focal point for a sudden surge of migrants. Arriving in Maine, one of the most white states in the country, is a great opportunity for some but not everyone shares this feeling.
The Belonging exhibit is the result of a four week-long storytelling workshop for immigrants, meeting once a week during 2022. Using photography, writing and art, a tool not often accessible to vulnerable communities, the group explored what the concept of home meant for them under the guidance of a Photography and Art instructor who are immigrants themselves.
For decades now, journalism has told the stories of immigrants with a foreign voice. Shifting the power dynamic and creating a space for the immigrants and refugees to share their own voices, I hope to bring a sense of confidence and empowerment to their voices and stories.
The exhibit showcases what it means to belong – to one’s self, to a culture, to a geographic location and to a new community.
Workshop participants and artists include: Suad Mohamed, Yannick Bizimana, Beny Lumanika Mbungu, Fatima Askari, Brenda Viola, Setara Saeedi, Greta Tucker, Mercia Ckaba Thomas, Akad Hamed, Mohammad Hashem Majidi
It was a great experience. We got a chance to share our feelings and interesting things. Art creation was my favorite part and I really enjoyed the time I spent in this experience. Akad Hamad
The belonging workshop that was organized by Sofia was an important experience for me and my child, who attended along with me. What seemed to be a fun art project, ended up being an eye opening experience. A group of people, from all walks of life, with different religions, countries, beliefs came together and found belonging within that group. This workshop touched me deeply, one of the most important things about this workshop was that we all wanted to not just fit in but belong, belong in a different and unique way for each of us. However, within the workshop, we found and built beautiful friendships, learning that while we’re from different backgrounds, we all were one, as we were making our art. We need more thoughtful gatherings like this one. Greta Tucker
Such kinds of workshops give you the chance to meet different people and learn new things about their culture and lifestyle. For me it’s also kind of to get away from the busy life to spend some time for myself and get back the spirit of creativity.Thank you very much for giving me the chance to be one of the lucky people to attend the workshop. Suad Ali