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Announcing the 24th Moving Walls Exhibit, Here We Are: Visual Resistance and Reclaiming Narratives

  • Woman standing in front of a backdrop
    From the series “Am I What You’re Looking For?” “I feel nervous about entering the corporate environment, but I will not let that change my attitude toward success as a Black woman.” —Mel, 21, North Carolina. © Endia Beal
  • A woman standing in front of a backdrop
    From the series “Am I What You’re Looking For?” “During my experience in corporate America, I was treated equally as a minority woman. I was able to build relationships with professionals and share my thoughts on how to market to minorities.” —Martinique, 21, North Carolina © Endia Beal
  • Composite photo of leaves and a portrait
    From the series “Signs of Your Identity.” “I was raped at school. He was an old man, the janitor. I didn’t tell anyone for decades, because I thought people would judge me. The only person I ever told was my mother [who went to Muskowekwan Indian Residential School]. All she said was, ‘That’s how I was brought up, too.’” —Seraphine Kay, Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School, 1974–1975. © Daniella Zalcman
  • Composite image of a portrait and teepees
    From the series “Signs of Your Identity.” “It was the worst 10 years of my life. I was away from my family from the age of 6 to 16. How do you learn about family? I didn’t know what love was. We weren’t even known by names back then. I was a number … 73.” —Mike Pinay, Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School, 1953–1963. © Daniella Zalcman
  • A man looks at a momentos on a sidewalk
    From the series “When Living Is a Protest.” © Ruddy Roye
  • A woman in a scarf in front of an American flag
    The Pan African Brooklyn, March 13, 2014. © Ruddy Roye
  • Handwritten words on a photograph
    From the project “What do you need to stay free?” © Reentry Think Tank
  • Polaroid photographs and handwriting on paper
    From the project “Without my criminal record, I am …” © Reentry Think Tank
  • Two people laughing
    From the series “Just Like Us.” © Eric Gyamfi
  • People on a dance floor
    From the series “Just Like Us.” © Eric Gyamfi
  • Two women in a tree
    From the series “Education Is Forbidden.” Rukkaya and Hadiza remember having to hide their school uniforms in plastic bags because they feared becoming targets of Boko Haram. © Rahima Gambo
  • A group of young women
    From the series “Education Is Forbidden.” Rukkaya, Hadiza, Falmata, and Rashida are teenage students at Shehu Garbai Secondary School, a government school in Maiduguri, Borno State. Public schools were allowed to reopen after a two-year closure was enforced by the state when over 200 school girls were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from the town of Chibok. © Rahima Gambo
  • The artist walking against a the water from a firehose
    Still photograph from a live performance of On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide, staged in Brooklyn, New York, in 2014. © Dread Scott
  • Room with multiple projections on wall
    Installation view of Stop, a two-channel projected HD video installation. A video projection on one wall features young men from Brooklyn, New York, while the video on the facing wall features young men from Liverpool, England. Each young man repeatedly states the number of times he has been stopped by the police. © Dread Scott
  • Composite image of a portrait and text
    From the project “Luz del Día: Copyrighting the Light of Day.” La Lucha por Ser Madre is based on a photograph of a protest of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the Plazo de Mayo), an association of Argentine mothers whose children were disappeared during the Argentine Dictatorship (1976–83). They began marching in 1977 at the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires, in order to protest the disappearances. © Stephanie Mercedes
  • A woman at the window of a tall building
    A domestic worker cleans a window inside her employer’s home in Hong Kong. © Xyza Cruz Bacani
  • Supporters demonstrate in the street
    Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, center, leaves the sentencing hearing for Law Wan-tung in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, on February 27, 2015. © Xyza Cruz Bacani

The Open Society Documentary Photography Project is pleased to announce our upcoming exhibition, Here We Are: Visual Resistance and Reclaiming Narratives, the 24th iteration of Open Society’s ongoing Moving Walls exhibition series.

Here We Are brings together 10 individual and collective artists, journalists, documentarians, and advocates who engage with art and documentary practice as forms of resistance. Together they confront and challenge our understanding of past trauma, present-day realities, and future possibilities within the context of race, religion, sexuality, political and economic repression, and colonial history.

In addition to being selected for the Here We Are exhibition, they also represent the inaugural class of Open Society Moving Walls grantees, who have been awarded funding to continue existing or new bodies of work that stand at the intersection of arts, media, documentary, and social change.

Their work hangs in the galleries of Open Society’s New York office at a time when our work within a larger community of change-making individuals and organizations is under attack, and we are united and emboldened in our collective strength and resolve. We are proud to support and stand with these artistic, socially engaged, innovative, revolutionary, and paradigm-shifting visionaries as they use their creativity to hold those in power accountable and catalyze transformative change.

The following are the 2017 Open Society Moving Walls grantees:

  • Xyza Cruz Bacani (b. 1987, Philippines) will exhibit work on labor migrants in Hong Kong and New York who have survived labor trafficking. Her grant will support a new project on the role of education in promoting peaceful coexistence within the context of conflict in the southern Philippines.
  • Endia Beal (b. 1985, United States) will exhibit “The Performance Review,” which features portraits and a composite video that examine the stories of black women working within corporate spaces. Her grant will support the development of an exhibition, a book, a new experimental video, and public programming on diversity and inclusion.
  • Rahima Gambo (b. 1986, Nigeria) will exhibit “Education Is Forbidden,” an installation of photographs and school book illustrations that reflects on northeastern Nigeria students returning to school after an attack by Boko Haram. Her grant will support a new project that combines photography and sculpture that reflects on the increasing use of female suicide bombers by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.
  • Eric Gyamfi (b. 1990, Ghana) will exhibit “Just Like Us,” an interactive installation of photographs documenting queer couples and friends in Ghana. His grant will support the ongoing expansion of the project, including the creation of new work, additional exhibition venues, and public programming.
  • Stephanie Mercedes (b. 1993, United States) will exhibit “Luz del Día: Copyrighting the Light of Day,” an artistic intervention to resist a pending Argentine copyright bill that will remove images taken during the 1976–83 Dirty War from the public domain. Her grant will support the completion of the project.
  • Reentry Think Tank will exhibit “I AM, We the People,” an installation of artwork and other media used in campaigns to redesign services and policies to benefit people reentering society after incarceration. The collective is a project conceived by codirectors Courtney Bowles (b. 1974, United States) and Mark Strandquist (b. 1985, United States) and includes: Hiram Adams, James Baker, Faith Bartley, Deanna Bell, Josette Bennett, Russell Craig, Aaron Crump, Alphonso Dashiell, Joshua Glenn, Anthony Hirschbuhl, David Jackson, Anthony Lovett, Sheila Michael, Tarrence Swartz, Colwin Williams, and Romeeka Williams. The grant will support the expansion of the collective’s work.
  • Ruddy Roye (b. 1969, Jamaica) will exhibit “When Living Is a Protest,” a photographic and poetic reflection on black Americans in cities and towns—from Newark, New Jersey, to Memphis, Tennessee, and Ferguson, Missouri—for whom the very act of living is a form of resistance. The grant will support the continuation of this project.
  • Dread Scott (b. 1965, United States) will exhibit “in this society, on this earth, in this day,” a presentation of two bodies of work, “Stop” and “On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide.” His grant will support Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a conceptual, community-engaged performance involving hundreds of reenactors restaging and reinterpreting Louisiana’s German Coast Uprising of 1811, the largest rebellion of enslaved people in North American history.
  • Daniella Zalcman (b. 1986, United States) will exhibit “Signs of Your Identity,” a series of layered portraits of survivors of the indigenous residential school system in Canada. Zalcman will use her grant to expand the work to include the United States, where 59 indigenous residential schools still operate today.


Here We Are: Visual Resistance and Reclaiming Narratives will be open to the public at the Open Society Foundations’ office in New York from October 4, 2017, through July 20, 2018.

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