MyLoan Dinh & Lee Baumgarten: We See Heaven Upside Down
MyLoan Dinh & Lee Baumgarten Artist Lecture
followed at 7:30 p.m by
We See Heaven Upside Down Opening Reception
Photo Credit: Jeff Cravotta
Paradoxically, to internalize the discovery that another person is a stranger, with their own inner-life and uniquely ''other'' perspective, is a rare but real contact with another subjectivity; our differences define both our individualism as well as our inseparable connection. This dichotomy between how we strive to shape our own lives individually towards our own goals and how we interact with strangers in a common space lies at the heart of the human condition, and it becomes particularly pronounced in times of mass migration, when cultures of apparent contrast are forced to interlace with one another.
We See Heaven Upside Down is an evolving dialog responding to the contemporary yet also, in fundamental ways, reoccurring challenges of migration and displacement related to the unique human experience. Based on a concept that began as a collaboration between Artists/Educator MyLoan Dinh & Lee Baumgarten in 2015, it has developed as an international collaboration between creative minds to stimulate conversation and understanding, with the intent to draw a supportive, connecting line between displacement, individuals and their journey. The exhibition strives to spur moments of genuine and raw empathy in our often hectic and confusing times. What we see, depends on where we stand. The project includes perspectives from non-migratory, immigrant and refugee backgrounds and has several objectives:
- Shifting one's perspective brings us closer towards understanding others with different circumstances and life experiences.
- Breaking down barriers surrounded by fears, misconceptions/stereotypes and prejudices.
- Offering individuals who have experienced the emotional disorientation and trauma of flight to employ their creative abilities and share their individual stories with the community.
The project launched in June of 2016 at the Novilla Center for the Arts in Berlin, Germany, then travelled to the Kunst am SpreeKnie Arts Festival, Berlin, Germany. Migration continues as this multi-dimensional exhibition, site-specific installation, and performance piece will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to headline Ross Galleries for Sensoria 2017.
Community Partners and support for We See Heaven Upside Down include Moving Poets (Charlotte/ Berlin); German Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth; the German Federal Program for Democracy Lives; Arts & Sciences Council Regional Artist Project Grant; Jeff Cravotta Photography; the North Carolina Arts Council (NCAC), Blumenthal Emerging Artists Endowment, and Harper Corporation of America.
“We See Heaven Upside Down” Exhibition Contributing Artists:
- Nico Amortegui (Columbia) - visual artist
- Raed Al-Rawi (Iraq) - visual artist/cartoonist/educator
- Hanna Tadrous Girgis- (Egypt) visual artist, collaborative artwork
- Cannupa Hanska Luger (USA) - visual artist
- Susanne Roewer (Germany) - visual artist
- Tina Roozbehi (Iran) - visual artist, collaborative artwork
- Dellair Youssef (Syria) - film maker
- CPCC Art & Design Students- Collaborative Installation Project
”As 4an immigrant and former refugee, I am faced with the challenge of living between cultures. My perception of home, land & country is fragmented and ever changing.
Connection and identity are indispensable themes. Where do we come from? Where are we going, and what do we encounter on the way? Borders are changing and fluid. In transition, do we leave traces of ourselves behind, like ripples where a foot once stepped?“
MyLoan Dinh was born in Saigon, Vietnam. During the war, she and her family fled by sea to refugee camps in Subic Bay and Wake Island in the South China Sea. Later they were brought to Camp Pendleton, California, known as Tent City, one of four large camps for Vietnamese refugees. From there, the family immigrated to Boone, eventually settling in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dinh studied Fine Arts at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and at the School of Arts and Design at Wollongong University New South Wales, Australia. Her creative talents led to designing and creating costumes and sets for professional dance and theatre for over a decade. In 2008, she returned to painting and renewed her focus on visual arts projects. Dinh has exhibited internationally and her work is found in private collections in the United States, Germany, Turkey and Switzerland.
Lee Baumgarten is a former Associate Professor of the Columbus College of Art & Design who has lived and produced in Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. His paintings, drawings and sculptures are included in corporate and private collections nationwide and in Europe.
In 2013, he was awarded a grant by the National Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation to promote STEAM, a “creativity in public schools” education model, which Charlotte then adopted. Presently, he is an advisor/consultant for academies and magnet schools in the public Charlotte Mecklenburg School System (CMS), promoting creativity and design in K-12 education. In December, 2015 President Obama signed the Bill into law, a STEM2STEAM model for all public education, which will effect over 50 million students nationwide placing greater emphasis on the arts.
”My goal is to tell a story of cultural diversity, accenting and highlighting our ‘likenesses’ through communicating that we are all passionate about living a dynamic life full of promise, and sharing community visions of purpose, reason & value.“