Presence: Reflections on the Middle East

Written & Photographed by Kylie Henson

pictures framed on a wall of women in hijabs

Denver – Feb. 3, 2017 – The Center for Visual Arts exhibition, Presence: Reflections on the Middle East. Art by: Shadi Ghadirian

On the first Friday of February, the Center for Visual Arts held their opening reception for their new exhibit, Presence: Reflections on the Middle East. The exhibit showcases more than 60 Photo-Based works that reflect the tension deeply rooted in the presence, or absence of people in a place, whether it is close to home or abroad. The pieces in the exhibit have been theorized and argued about in many different ways, although it is agreeable that these pieces are powerfully influential with their relationship between past memories & present moments. Since the invention of photography, there has been an affiliation with trace; which is a presence that can be more accurately felt through absence. This has led to the idea that photography contains the trace of what came before. The exhibit dives into this idea and explores what that could mean and even how the artists achieve this to contribute to how the viewer feels.

Women looking at photography that is printed on aluminum, which is hanging on the wall

DENVER – Feb. 3, 2017 – Dr. Joan L. Foster observes the Art by: Cori Storb, which are digital photographs printed on aluminum.


Regarding the current climate in the US, whether your political ideals lean to one side or the other, it is more important than even to listen to the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” In past, present, and the future, we must try not to rely on others, instead we all must act as the change we wish to see in the world. With that being said, we must accomplish empathy when interacting with others, because you never know what the people around you are dealing with currently. As well as being empathetic, we should be open-minded about other cultures, races, and religions. It is important to be a listener and to understand what people are saying and why it is important. Turn this time of confusion in the US into a time of reflection on yourself; how can you change in order to engage the world around you?

With all of this in mind, I want to challenge you. The first challenge is to get out to see this exhibit. The exhibition is open from February 3rd – April 8th. The CVA is open Tuesday-Friday: 11am-6pm & Saturday: 12pm-5pm. There is also no charge to get in, so it would be in your best interest to try to visit this exhibition. My last challenge for you is to open your mind to the perspective these artists have and what they are portraying. In the world we live in today, there is constantly something happening in different areas around the world, so it can be hard to understand and make sense of it all. Although, if we allow ourselves to be more empathetic of each other, we could see the change in our lives, cultures, societies, and even in the world.

Take on the challenge, not just to better yourself, but to create an improved environment.


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