January 2018 Update:
Alf Shukr – A Thousand Thanks to all who generously donated towards our year-end campaign, and other times over the year! We are most grateful for your support in affirming our mission and enabling us to continue implementing impactful programs and making meaningful connections across communities in Philadelphia.
Have you had a chance to visit our first public art installation titled An Immigrant Alphabet? It’s not too late to view it across from City Hall. These remarkable banners will wrap around the Municipal Services Building until the end of December. Since September, thousands of people including city workers, tourists, local residents, and school groups have been inspired by it, engaging in heartfelt conversations about cultural identity and what it means to be an American.
Your support of Al-Bustan is most appreciated! A financial donation now will help us extend An Immigrant Alphabet, giving the project a longer life and potential for touring to other sites over the coming year. To sustain all of our cultural and educational initiatives, we rely on financial support from caring, informed people like you to fuel these innovative programs. We cannot do this without your help! Please give as generously as you can.
Rushana Nasimova’s story inspires us. She is one of the co-creators of this evocative, large-scale Alphabet project. A graduate of Northeast High, now at Community College, Rushana poses in the image depicting the letter “L” for “Leave.”
Leaving is something Rushana knows a lot about. She left her native Tajikistan five years ago along with her siblings and mother, a journalist who dared to criticize the government. The family fled to Russia but it was not safe so shortly after they were forced to leave. They fled to Turkey and eventually had to leave again. Two years ago they found sanctuary in the U.S. For Rushana ‘leave’ means not just moving away from a physical place but “leaving a good life, friends, people you know, things you love.”
What have you left behind that has made you a stronger person, but that also still tugs at your heart?
Expressions of Identity in Transition is the subtitle of another current project, (DIS)PLACED: Philadelphia. Through the perspectives of four artists of Arab heritage and the documentation of local stories (including that of Rushana’s mother Gulnora), we explore the themes of home and (dis)placement across Philadelphia’s diverse communities.
This project continuing into 2018 engages the public through storytelling, music, visual art, poetry, and forums. We’re pleased to have just completed, in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia, a commission by internationally renowned Tunisian-French artist eL Seed who created a mural at Market & Preston Streets – a fantastic work of art right here in our city!
As we continue to cultivate seeds of cross-cultural understanding among diverse communities, we are grateful for the support and partnership of the City’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy and Office of Immigrant Affairs.
In addition to our ongoing public school programs in Kensington and Northeast Philadelphia, we are committed to engaging community members in West Philadelphia through the mural project and over the coming year the development of an infill lot to create a public garden space for all to enjoy and nurture.
Please help us reach our goal of $20,000 from individual gifts before December 31 by making a tax-deductible gift at albustanseeds.org/donate, so that we can serve you and others at the highest level of quality and with the widest outreach.
Shukran – Thank You!
Hazami Sayed, Executive Director
Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. EIN: 03-0502955