Tabadul: Wendy Ewald Visits NEHS and Philadelphia

Posted On:
28 October, 2016
NewsSchool Partnerships

Al-Bustan was pleased to welcome in October internationally renowned photographer/educator Wendy Ewald in Philadelphia for a 3-day visit in preparation for her residency in Spring 2017 as part of the project Tabadul: Cross-Cultural Exchange through the Arts.

We walked in three neighborhoods across the city, including Germantown Avenue with Germantown Friends School teachers Anne Gerbner and Megan Culp who gave us an insightful introduction to the history of the neighborhood.  Throughout the day we observed the city fabric with an eye for for blank walls that could be sites for displaying large banners.  Wendy spent another day introducing NEHS students to her process and learning more about them and how they see themselves within the school and as residents of Northeast Philadelphia.

When Wendy returns in Spring 2017 she will collaborate with students to create artwork that is reflective of their identity and heritage, to be printed on large 8’x10′ banners and displayed across the city.

About Wendy Ewald

An internationally renowned photographer and educator based in New York, Wendy Ewald has collaborated for over forty years in art projects with children, families, and teachers worldwide — from South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Israel, Holland, Mexico, and Columbia, to numerous cities and rural communities within the United States. She is known for her documentary investigations of places and communities, probing questions of identity and cultural differences. Addressing conceptual, formal and narrative concerns, her work challenges traditional notions of documentary photography and the role of the artist. Working with youth, she encourages them to use cameras to record themselves, their families, and their communities, and to articulate their fantasies, dreams, and struggles. She often makes photographs within the communities she works with and has participants mark or write on her negatives, thereby challenging the concept of who actually makes an image, who is the photographer, the subject, the observer and the observed. Using creative collaboration as the basis for the artistic process, she creates opportunities to look at the meaning and use of photographic images in our lives with fresh perceptions.

In 1990 Wendy Ewald established at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies the initiative “Literacy Through Photography” – a teaching philosophy and methodology that encourages children to explore their world as they photograph scenes from their own lives and to use their images as catalysts for verbal and written expression. She published I Wanna Take Me a Picture: Teaching Photography and Writing to Children in 2001, as a guidebook for teachers and parents, based on her experience teaching in Durham public schools and various communities around the world.

Wendy Ewald has received many honors, notably a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation, and the Fulbright Commission. She was also a senior fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School from 2000-2002. She has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, the George Eastman House in Rochester, Nederlands Foto Institute in Rotterdam, the Fotomuseum in Wintherthur, Switzerland, and the Corcoran Gallery of American Art among others. Her work was included in the 1997 Whitney Biennial. She has published more than ten books — her fifth, a 30-year retrospective documenting her projects entitled Secret Games was published in 2000. American Alphabets includes a project with Arab American middle school students in Queens, NY. To The Promised Land was published in 2006 to accompany an outdoor installation in Margate, England commissioned by ArtAngel. Her latest book This is Where I Live was published in 2015. She is an artist in residence at the John Hope Franklin Center and senior research associate at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.