Travel Your City is a project I have been working on for over a year. It is based on the idea that we can be explorers in our own community. There are unexplored neighborhoods, new cultural events, and people that I have never met everywhere, even in my hometown.
I tend to explore how people live wherever I go. When I travel I find it extremely important to become friends with locals, see their houses and begin to learn their languages. The basic things that every human does are important to our individual culture. Everything including how we eat, cook, live, work, play and pray are significant aspects of our unique cultural heritage.
The pieces in this exhibition are based on specific events, ceremonies, people, groups, and places that I have explored and learned about in the Tri-Cities over the past months. I have attended Kirtan nights, Hindu celebrations, explored the Buddhist monasteries, attended church services and celebration nights with the Bahai community. I’ve played cricket and explored a variety of ethnic restaurants. I’ve eaten with forks, my hands and chopsticks. And we have had people from over 19 countries in our home, since April.
My previous bodies of artwork have focused on people. Whether responding to social issues, the interplay of cultures and religions, or travel, my art looks at life and humanity. After having traveled to several countries, to teach, take classes and display artwork, I have finally settled into the Tri-Cities, Washington. I have had a blast exploring all of the diversity that can be found without leaving my new hometown. This exhibition just begins to address the people groups and diversity in the area. I have more that I am still looking at and working on.
I hope that after viewing the work in this exhibition, you will be encouraged to see the simple aspects of life and culture a bit differently. Take some time to think about your own culture and the cultures of the people around you. Aspects of everyday life such as where we sleep, what we eat, what we wear, and how we pray are all important parts of our cultures and diversity. I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and find people with a different culture than your own.