Dunia Moja/One World: A Peregrine Press and Zanzibar Print Exchange
On exhibit at the Lewis Gallery in the Portland Public Library
April 1 — May 28, 2011
The Gallery will be open for First Friday in both April and May
Prints will be for sale* during First Fridays in April and May, and at the Opening Reception, April 8th.
Opening reception: Friday, April 8 from 5:00 — 8:00 PM with a special presentation at 7:00 PM
by Mark and Aimee Bessire: "Reflections on Contemporary East African Art"
Mark Bessire is the Director of the Portland Museum of Art and Founder and Curator of the East African Biennial.
Aimee Bessire is Assistant Professor of African Studies at Bates College and Founding Director of the Africa Schoolhouse, Ntulya, Tanzania.
Ravishing colors. Breathtaking images.
And above all, utterly astonishing results.
These are the hallmarks of “Dunia Moja” (or “One World” in Swahili), a new exhibition of collaborative prints created jointly by the artists of Peregrine Press in Portland, Maine, and the artists of Women Networking in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
This unique print exchange was conceived by Alice Spencer, a founding member of Peregrine, after visiting Zanzibar in early 2010 and teaching the fundamentals of stenciling and block printing to 12 professional Muslim henna artists, all women.
The two groups of artists then agreed to create individual editions of 10" x 10" base prints apiece and exchange them for distribution to a second artist in the other group. Responding intuitively and imaginatively to the base print as a background — there were no rules! — the second artist then added another layer of gestures, imagery, or manipulations to finish the prints.
The two resulting matched sets of collaborative prints are unique, showcasing the deep similarities — and mysterious differences — between kindred spirits working "together" across a distance of 6,000 miles. The prints are being exhibited simultaneously at the Portland Public Library and in Stone Town, Zanzibar, from April 1 to May 28, 2011.
In addition to the prints, the “Dunia Moja” exhibition in Portland will showcase a variety of maps, photographs, and traditional brightly colored Tanzanian clothing wraps, called kangas (one of which was created by a group of Peregrine artists).
To view the result of this remarkable collaboration, please visit the exhibition or click on the images below to see (left) the first-stage base prints, (middle) the finished prints, and (right) various artists of Peregrine Press and Women Networking.
Click here to see what some of the artists — from both continents — had to say about the exchange process.
* A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of prints in this show will be sent to Women Networking, so that they may purchase additional supplies for their artwork, as well as to the Portland English as a Second Language Scholarship Fund (PESL); The mission of PESL is to help local immigrants and refugees gain the English language skills necessary to achieve their post-secondary educational goals in the United States. For more information about PESL please visit: www.peslsf.org
This project is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
In addition to the Maine Arts Commission, the Peregrine Press would like to thank the following for their support of this project: American Embassy in Dar Es Salaam, Bates College Museum of Art, Portland Public Library, Maine Historical Society, Artist and Craftsmen Supply, Aimee and Mark Bessire, Honory Jerome, Desmond Ngarami Mushi, Kaiza Mohamed, Steven Podgajny, Laura Savard, Francesca Steele, and Rachel Weyand.