Picture Me Here (PMH) is a storytelling program based in Aurora and Denver Colorado, created for refugees, immigrants and others who have been displaced and are currently based in Colorado.
Participants engage with local mentors to learn a variety of multimedia skills to facilitate their own storytelling and documentation, including photography, video, animation and writing. Media skills are taught as creative tools for self expression, social engagement, community building, leadership, and integration.
Projects are based on a variety of themes including migration, memory and place. Participants explore and share their personal histories, cultural identities, new surroundings and resettlement experiences, while building skills in technology, English language, leadership, and public speaking. Projects culminate in exhibits, screenings and events that bring together diverse communities to view photographs, hear stories and build new connections.
After being awarded an Arts in Society grant in 2017, PMH Teaching Artists began facilitating a year long Fellowship in Creative Media for New Americans, meeting weekly at Denver Open Media for workshops and working with the PMH Fellows, who came to the U.S. from a variety of countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Brazil, Ukraine, Nigeria and Congo.
For their upcoming exhibition, Picture Me Here Fellows and Mentors worked together to create a series of postcards addressing their former selves (before migrating from their homeland and resettling in Colorado) to share their experiences and impressions of life in America: what new things they will enjoy here, what aspects they will find most challenging, and what they will miss about their home country. Each postcard includes their own photography and writing, created during their year long fellowship.
Zahraa Otaifah immigrated to the United States from Iraq in early 2016, with her husband and son, after escaping the ongoing conflict and violence there. As a Picture Me Here Fellow, she enthusiastically describes how the skills learned through her fellowship are numerous, ranging and from presentation and social skills and a variety of technological skills.
"I've chosen this Fellowship as I strongly believe it helped me communicate both my skills and my story professionally. The PMH Fellowship offers the most professional mentors available, that help us refine and perfect our projects on many levels. The fellowship for me has been worthwhile, valuable and motivating."
You can see more of Zahraa's work on her professional website at http://www.zahraaphotography.com
PMH Fellows are showing a selection of their new work this summer, titled "Dear Younger Me: Postcards From New Americans to Their Younger Selves, on view from July 20-August 25th at Colorado Photographic Arts Center at 1070 Bannock Street in the Golden Triangle Neighborhood in Denver.
Join us to celebrate and support this work at the opening reception on Friday, July 27th from 600-900pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 1100am-500pm and Saturdays from 1200-400pm.