Whether merging photography and sculpture, working on decade-long photo documentaries, doing commercial photography, or collaborating on community-based projects, I actively engage the issues and ideas at stake in our visual culture. I enjoy...
Focus:Photographer, Photojournalist, Street Art
Covering:Africa,Europe,USA & Canada
Skills:Digital Printing, Film Scanning, Book Layout/Design, Photo Editing, Black & White Printing, Mixed Media, Curating, Exhibition Design, Multimedia Production, Photojournalism, Sculpting
University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design , MFA 2016
University of Pennsylvania, BA cum laude, 2003 in Fine Art and African American Studies
We, Women combines photography and community engagement to tackle urgent social issues.
We, Women supports artists from all spectrums of identity, including but not limited to race, religion, sexual orientation, age, ability, and socio-economic status. By creating projects that unite and engage communities across the United States, We, Women artists show how issues are interconnected and how we are all affected by them.
In an era characterized by divisiveness and distrust in politics and the media, We, Women artists investigate how they can combine images with community engagement to offer a direct route to the core of a problem and the beginning of a solution.
We, Women artists highlight the vital role the arts can play in social change movements, by visualizing issues, attracting attention, connecting changemakers, and bridging dialogues.
We, Women believes that only through a holistic understanding of how imbalanced power structures impact our entire society can we hope to create a shift in our political and social systems.
We believe that gender is fluid. We, Women is inclusive of a plurality of voices including womxn, transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people.
Every urgent issue in America today—from immigration to education, affordable housing to climate change, gun control to health care—impacts womxn. Yet, women and gender nonconforming people are largely disempowered in our political and social systems.
Despite decades of advances by trailblazing womxn, mainstream media has historically shown the country through a white, male lens. Diversifying the voices that tell our stories is imperative if we want to understand a more complete version of our reality and dismantle unjust power structures.
The Workers Studio is a series of engagements and exchanges between Sol Aramendi and immigrant community members who document their daily lives, their labor, and mutual aid circles. Though immigrants hold jobs crucial to the positive growth of the economy, they’ve been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that, the extractivist economy hasn’t deterred these women in creating alternative care systems for themselves and their community. The photos included here were created by Maria Abeja, Verónica Ramirez, Elizabeth Tolalba, Araceli Domínguez, Valeria Reyes, and Sol Aramendi. Illustrations by Sara Vera. Collaborators include La Colmena Community Job Center, Mujeres en Movimiento, Brightly Cooperative, and Apple Eco Cleaning Cooperative.
Dear Newtok is an audio/visual advice “column” produced by residents of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Southwest Alaska, one of the first regions in the U.S. to experience forced relocation due to the climate crisis. This chapter of the project focuses on the Yup’ik village of Newtok where the shoreline is rapidly eroding as a result of melting permafrost and an increase in storm surges. The community is relocating to the newly constructed village of Mertarvik, nine miles away. Using words and images, Dear Newtok offers advice and insight on adapting to a changing world.
CINTHYA SANTOS BRIONES, New Jersey - Spaces of Detention
The most concrete expression of anti-immigrant policy in the United States is found in the spaces where migrants are detained. Spaces of Detention is a collaborative project that examines how the infrastructure and the architecture in four ICE detention centers in upstate New Jersey shape social interactions and affect the well-being and mental health of migrants.
Through collecting autobiographical narratives, migrants who have been detained in these prisons tell their experiences through drawing, writing, and photo collages. These stories give an account of the “architecture of punishment,” emphasizing the lack of access to proper nutrition, surveillance cameras as an expansion of torture, linguistic barriers, and incarceration of indigenous Mesoamerican migrants—all resulting in diverse forms of hetero-patriarchal violence and systemic abuse. This project strives to dismantle the narratives of trauma photography that commodify the pain of others and to provide space for healing and collective action.
KORAL CARBALLO, ANITA POUCHARD SERRA, JESSICA ÁVALOS, WASHINGTON D.C. -
Welcome to Intipucá City
Welcome to Intipucá City is a collaborative transmedia project that uses images, drawings, and words to reconfigure the imagery of Salvadoran migration to Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Through past and present stories, this project seeks to change the image of Central American migrants stigmatized by hate speech and to show the complexity of trans-national identities through their life stories. For We, Women, they created a series of workshops and installed work in businesses run by the Salvadoran community in D.C. to honor people’s pride of being a migrant. Additionally, they’ll produce a zine about the process, dialogue, and encounters between the Salvadoran community and non-Latino communities. The artists seek to give back to and maintain a dialogue with this community that has shared their stories with them since 2017.
ANNIE FLANAGAN, ASHLEY TEAMER, LOUISIANA - Lady Bleu Devils
She laces up her sneakers, a cross hangs around her neck. Her blue warm-up shirt reads “Create Yours” in bold, white letters. Headphones in, she grabs a basketball off the rack, the sound of each dribble echoing off the walls as she steps closer to the court. Without skipping a beat, she jabs left, squares up, shoots, swoosh. The buzzer rings. After coach Rome reviews the plays, the team gathers in the center of the locker room: arms up, they pray.
In 1973, after the passage of Title IX, Mary Dixon Teamer founded Dillard University’s Lady Bleu Devils in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nearly 50 years later, Mary’s granddaughter, Ashley Teamer, along with friend and collaborator Annie Flanagan, have documented the present day Lady Bleu Devils team over the course of two years. They’ve witnessed them become the 2018 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference champions as well as how their deep interconnections and unwavering community grew over the seasons.
Through a billboard series in New Orleans coming this year, their project inserts Black women in the landscape of the city, highlighting the significance of the team and the relationships and complexities of each player in their pursuit of athletic and academic excellence at a historically Black university.
TAILYR IRVINE, MONTANA - Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America
In the universal struggle to find a life partner, Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America looks at how generations of young Native Americans have faced a burden put upon them long before they were born. In 1934, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act, a law established to bolster tribal authority on their own lands.
It dictated that individuals must have a certain fraction of Indian blood, or blood quantum, to enroll as a member of that tribe. Blood quantum is determined by the amount of Indian blood of a person’s ancestors. For example, if someone had one parent who was full-blooded and one who was non-Native, that person would have a blood quantum of ½.
Native Americans who want their children to be legal, enrolled tribal members must choose a partner with enough of their tribe’s blood. This system is unsustainable—if these requirements are maintained, tribes will cease to exist.
Tonika’s Folded Map™ Project connects residents at corresponding addresses on opposite sides of Chicago. She investigates what urban segregation looks like and how it impacts residents. What started as a photographic study quickly evolved into a multimedia exploration with video interviews, inviting audiences to open up dialogue and question how we are all impacted by social, racial, and institutional conditions that segregate us.
Tonika’s goal is to help people understand how urban environments are structured and to challenge everyone to consider solutions. “I want Folded Map to help us heal and get to know each other so that we can tear down the racist walls that divide us.”
Up for Air is a testimony, inviting spiritual and non-spiritual people alike to breathe in the narrative of how queer, Black bodies move within religious spaces. In Black churches, queerness is casually present, but rarely addressed or spoken of as it’s considered a threat to both masculinity and femininity.
This specific subject of work prompts dialogue about the non-conversation that should be held for and by queer people of color in traditional places of worship. Through sound, color, and light, Ericka aims to create a visceral story that offers non-normative perspectives on the dynamics of the Black, religious, and spiritual experience.
The Sunday Morning ritual of preparing one’s presence for engagement within a religious setting holds similar importance to the ritual of being baptized, partaking in communion, or sharing testimony with a chosen religious community. The word “queer” in this sentiment is not limited to only gender or sexuality. “Queer” should also be acknowledged in its original origin—out of the ordinary, unusual.
In the deep waters of wonder, one may be born again or may be stuck right beneath the surface. These visual truths speak on the difficulties of embracing an identity that’s often overshadowed while expanding on memory, beauty, and tradition.
A Project on Water Preservation in Partnership with the Seneca Nation in Allegheny and Cattaraugus Territory
Karen is collaborating with people from the Seneca Nation to focus on water preservation, education, and community empowerment. We all live because of water, which is a source of healing. It’s also a basic human right, it’s justice, it’s culture, and it needs to be accessible and protected.
The Great Lakes represent 20% of the world’s fresh surface water. However, more than 22 million pounds of plastic pollution end up here every year, including contamination from industrial and nuclear waste.
The Allegheny River and the Cattaraugus creek are sacred waters to the Seneca Nation and a source of sustenance for the people and the wildlife. However, pollution concerns, fracking plans, water contamination, forest loss due to invasive insects, and a nuclear waste site threaten the waters and surrounding habitat.
Ensuring clean water and protecting it from pollution and waste is one of the fundamental resources we can give to the next generation. In this project, Karen hopes to showcase beauty and resilience while also raising awareness about these critical issues facing our lifeline of water.
As a society, we must listen to tribal members in their decision-making and to water keepers on ways to protect, empower, and take action in order to ensure that fresh surface water remains accessible and clean, here in New York and everywhere.
There Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down visualizes resistance and activism associated with the failures of rural healthcare in Appalachia by providing context and resources for how citizens can work together to solve problems associated with declining rural healthcare. Utilizing pamphlets as a medium, Stacy is partnering with local health organizations to address problems associated with declining rural healthcare, specifically dental care, black lung disease, medical debt, drug use and treatment, and the impact of hospital closures. America’s healthcare system is in crisis.
Skyrocketing costs for patients, an accelerating work pace for nurses and other health care workers, and a tangle of private and public insurance bureaucracies throw up barriers to care for millions of people in the United States.
At heart, what is strangling America’s healthcare system is that we still don’t count it among the human rights to which we’re all entitled. Instead, we view the health of our fellow citizens as another potential source of profit.
The pamphlets are designed by Homie House Press: a radical cooperative platform that challenges the ever-changing forms of storytelling with imagery and text. All Illustrations are by Jen Iskow. She is an artist, designer, and musician living in Tucker County, West Virginia.
I have spent a lot of time documenting reproductive rights, childbirth, and motherhood, often focusing on what it’s like to be pregnant as a Black woman in the South. These images and stories offer an intimate portrait and counter narrative of a long-ignored, erased, and censored community. Three months before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the U.S., forcing me to shelter-in-place, I found out I was pregnant, for the first time, with a girl.
As I couldn’t document other people's stories due to COVID-19, I was pushed to turn the camera on myself and document my own experience as a Black pregnant woman living through extraordinary circumstances.
Living with Conviction: Sentenced to Debt for Life in Washington State
In partnership with formerly incarcerated individuals, Living with Conviction: Sentenced to Debt for Life in Washington State confronts how Washington courts have been sentencing people not only to prison but also to a lifetime of debt.
The project leverages multimedia storytelling and community conversations to raise awareness about and advocate for an end to crippling court-imposed costs, fees, fines, and restitution, a.k.a “legal financial obligations.” Known as LFOs, some of these fees begin accruing interest at a rate of 12 percent at the time of sentencing and can increase up to 50 percent in interest. This policy criminalizes poverty, shackling low-income communities and communities of color to the criminal justice system for life. Living with Conviction goes beyond polarizing headlines and statistics, highlighting the injustice of this system by sharing stories of our common humanity.
MI Voz was intended to be a yearlong series of in-person cartonera workshops with Michigan’s Latinx community exploring the question, “What is my political power?” Participants would answer this question by compiling books of original and sampled materials, creatively engaging their own and others’ ideas of political power, social justice, and institutional reform.
Participants’ books would then be bound with cardboard covers, alluding to the tradition of Latin American cartoneras, a book form that makes publishing and distribution more accessible. But 2020, and the pandemic, had another plan. Despite the unexpected pivots and trajectory changes, MI Voz illustrates the power of reflection in times of adversity.
As you navigate your way through MI Voz, and the overall We, Women exhibition, take time to consider the adjustments you’ve made in your own life in response to this moment. How have you made sense of the pandemic? What’s the world you want to see on the other side of this?
As a first-generation, Black Yemeni immigrant, Muna’s work is focused on identity formation and cultural connection. Through sculpture, interactive installations, and photography, Muna explores the complexities and entanglements between individuals and communities. Her work questions: Is culture just a collection of individuals?
Our Family examines how culture shapes the way we see both ourselves and each other amidst the backdrop of the United States’ history of separating families.
Focusing on the Somali community in Minnesota during the Muslim Ban, the photos included in this project ask the viewer to examine how culture is shaped when people are separated by thousands of miles.
Dear Survivor is a growing visual collection empowering sexual trauma survivors through collaboration and expression of their own narratives. This diptych series seeks to highlight the prevalence of sexual violence and question how we can break this cycle. Conversations in society are happening, but not much has changed.
For example, an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds. And yet, survivors carry the heavy, painful burden of demanding action and engagement from their family, friends, and community.
This project also involves survivors through a digital workbook with resources, tools, and guided questions. Rosem invites you to connect with their stories and to further participate through our online We, Women platform.
KAMEELAH JANAN RASHEED, CALIFORNIA - Expanding Local Histories
Expanding Local Histories seeks to build an archive of East Palo Alto’s radical education history from the late 1960s through the early 1980s to situate this local history within a larger national movement of Black institution-building and self-determination. Alongside this archival effort is an interest in considering how this specific moment in educational history can provide frameworks, questions, and strategies for reimagining our contemporary schooling landscape.
Kameelah is returning to her hometown to explore how this effort and other archival efforts in the city allow us to understand how community change caused by gentrification and other factors impact the preservation of local histories. She is working with local residents to create a digital archive of East Palo Alto’s history, which includes the creation of a school system.
In this process, she has learned about the lineage of archival efforts in East Palo Alto, the wide dispersal of archival materials across institutional and personal collections, as well as the ethics of narrating a city’s history.
Until I married a service member, I was largely unaware of U.S. military operations. I moved onto a military installation where troops train in simulated war conditions right before deployment during the height of the war in Afghanistan. Suddenly, war surrounded me. Today, a smaller percentage of the U.S. population than ever before serves in the military and a higher percentage of soldiers now have their own families. Thus, the burden of war falls on these families, a community increasingly isolated from the civilian population. To further explore the experiences of military families, last year I led photography workshops for military spouses and children in Fort Leavenworth. I hope sharing their stories will help bridge the growing divide between military and civilian populations.
Photos and audio by artist and project participants Adrienne Beall, Matt Beall, Kaitlin Brinker, Denise Buissereth, Adela Courtright, Liz Kinney, Chad Buckel, Chantal Labrie, Elise Lyles, Matt Lyles, John Principe, Brandi Smith, Olivia Takash, and Jenny Walker.
I am a co-founder and creative director of We, Women, the largest social impact photography project by womxn in the United States. We, Women’s grants, mentorship, national public art exhibition, and educational curriculum enabled artists to tackle critical social issues. Grantees created images collaboratively, visualized underrepresented experiences, and amplified existing grassroots organizing. Born out of frustration over the country’s deep inequities, We, Women was designed to foster action and dialog. I am proud of our founding team’s determination. Despite funder rejections, logistical obstacles, and a pandemic, we refused to banish We, Women to “a great idea.”