Expressions of Self through Art
A SAFE SPACE FOR
Dealing with hate, with an open mic
by Rupa Shanoy
Public Radio International
In opening the Muslim Writers Collective at a Boston University lecture Hall, Sarah Dolaty addressed the audience, saying: “Muslim Writers Collective is a platform for Muslim storytelling…Our goal is to create a diverse, safe space for Muslim Americans to share their experiences.” In this space, writers are invited to tell their individual stories and share their perspectives without worrying that they will be seen as representative of all Muslim Americans. The collective, however, is less about showing the rest of the world that “Muslims are normal people too,” and more about creating another kind of “American community” that encourages self-expression in a safe space. Given this time of hostility and lack of dialogue we find ourselves in, where are you able to express your true self without fear of reprisal or judgment? How do you engage with others whose perspectives and/or experiences differ from your own?
THE GIFT OF MUSIC
And The Winner Of The 2016 Tiny Desk Contest Is ...
by Bob Boilen
All Songs Considered, NPR Music
Out of 6,100 entries in this year’s National Public Radio's Tiny Desk Contest, the judges named Duluth, Minnesota native Gaelynn Lea as the winner. All Song’s Considered co-host Robin Hilton shares: "Gaelynn Lea had the most arresting voice and overall sound I heard in this competition…I was profoundly moved by Lea's song, particularly its serpentine, earworm melody and the tremendous heartache in her poetry." Gaelynn, a 32 year-old classically trained fiddler, was born with brittle bone disease, a congenital disability that makes playing the violin tucked tightly under the chin an uncomfortable option. Instead, she plays it upright, similar to a cellist. In addition to her music, Gaelynn inspires others as a dedicated fiddle teacher and an advocate for artists and other people with disabilities; her music is described as a “perfect gift.” Listen here for yourself and learn more about Gaelynn’s life here.
HEALING THROUGH ART
An effort to create healing for displaced SF artists
by Eli Wolfe
San Francisco Chronicle
Jennifer Ewing, a longtime Mission District artist, is organizing "healing" sessions for fellow San Francisco artists who have been displaced from their homes and are struggling to make ends meet. Ewing's concept is a simple one: Attendees make “spirit boats” out of plastic bottles and decorative materials and through the process gradually unburden themselves. The group is fast-growing, as many residents are finding themselves homeless due to the tech boom and rising rent prices. Ewing, who started making spirit boats 11 years ago as a way to heal after the death of her father, shares: “What happens is when people make the boat, the stories come out...The boat is the vehicle to go into the unknown—it keeps them safe.” Have you ever used the process of creating art as a way to heal from trauma or loss? What role, if any, does art play in your spiritual life?
BLACKNESS, SPIRITUALITY & MUSIC
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘untitled unmastered.’ Is a Fascinating Collection of Sketches From the Artist’s Notebook
by Matthew Ismael Ruiz
Kendrick Lamar is an artist and activist whose music is rooted in trying to "break chains, musically and socially." His message and sound appeals to listeners on a number of levels. "At its best, Kendrick Lamar’s music is more spiritual than religious, even if it often alludes to Christian dogma. But conceptually, [his newest album] untitled unmastered. continues with the themes of blackness, spirituality, guilt, and responsibility that he explored so colorfully [previously]." Do you find inspiration through a variety of mediums, musically or otherwise? Does your spiritual practice frame the way in which music speaks to you?