Author: Raeshma

Redefining Art & Artist

“I’m redefining what it means to be an artist”: A conversation with Izza Anwar A few months ago we featured artist/educator Jason Wyman’s civic art project #wheredoyoubelong. And last week I caught up on the project’s latest iteration with one of his co-collaborators and one of my favorite former students, Izza Anwar. Izza and I go back a couple years to ‘Flag Stories,’ a SOMArts-based multi-media project we were part of that took us to Malaysia together. I’ve missed Malaysian food and her company ever since! Since then her deepening exploration of art and community have led her full circle back to SOMArts where she’s a first-time curator of an exhibit currently on display. Izza emigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan when she was 8. She’s in her last year of high school in San Francisco, eagerly awaiting college acceptance letters. Check out our brief interview below, and visit the show at SOMArts where Izza and other artists will talk about their work this Thursday, February 4, from 6-9 pm. Tell me a little about …

kids summer activities

Attention, Little People

Summers when I was 9 in Aurora, IL, we were out in the street on our own. Our parents said go outside and find something to frickin’ do. We had a lot of freedom. We played in each other’s yards, on the street, we rode our bikes, roller skated, ran through sprinklers, slid on the Slip’n Slide. For a little more structure we would take cheap kids classes at the parks and rec. Many times these were at the neighborhood grade school.  Then there was the bookmobile that would come out. We would take our wagon, stick my smallest sister in it and wheel off for a mega haul of books. Now I face the summer as Number 1 Auntie to two little girls. They don’t do the things I did the way I did when I did them so many years ago. Life and play are so much more planned, protected. Allow me to brainstorm my way through a list (that’s how I sort out life) of things I might do with these two …

Golden Gate Bridge Walk

Get Close. Bring an Apple. Walking across the Golden Gate bridge is a noisy experience: the cars, the wind. It’s a roadway after all, picturesque from afar (we started off at Chrissy Field), and breathing fumes up close. Walking is essential to gauge the physicality of a place or thing, its distance, the angles you’d otherwise not see: of the bridge, below it, on it, afar, underneath its towers, parallel to its cables. Sort of a walking Cubist experience. Tourists want to be in the photo with the bridge, it’s our biggest local celebrity. In the sunshine there is something especially cheerful and earnest and of course oversized about it, as if it’s the Clifford the big Red Dog of the Bay. (Although it’s darker side is indicated soon enough by the crisis phones installed there for potential jumpers. ‘There is hope. Make the call.’) But right now there are sunnier sorts around: Asian girls in cute outfits with impossibly un-windblown hair posing for pictures; and somewhere a fashion blog is updated. Men alone and …

You Belong Here, Part 2

We continue Raeshma’s interview with Jason Wyman of #wheredoyoubelong. We left off with Jason previewing the April 11th “You Belong Here Event”(photo above) RR: What’s upcoming for this project? JW: The April event is just one thing happening in a slew of things. It will be the culminating event for Izza and the interns. This event will be a point that will be connected to other events and plans. So it’s both a culminating and continuing effort. RR: You have lots of youth experience, how is it different from approaches you’ve taken in past? JW: I laid myself off of the nonprofit system. Because of the grant cycles and how projects were funded, I would have to continual lay myself off. I did a lot in youth development. I didn’t like where it was going. Due to the recession, things moved toward community school models which I don’t 100 percent believe in. I saw the power that youth development had in the late 90’s, I did AmeriCorp then and other things and I saw direct outcomes …

Bridges

My name is Raeshma. I’m seven years new to the Bay, and beginning to feel at home. I seek new beginnings in creative projects, journeys, and my relationships with place, purpose and prose. I’m drawn to that which connects or disconnects us –ideas, values, community (in issues of faith, youth, migration, for example).  I’m looking at bridges.