The Waller-Yoblonsky Gallery is pleased to present “Same, Same, Different”, a mixed media cultural exchange project between school children in Dembayara, Guinea, West Africa and Bozeman, Montana. By placing two bodies of work together the children participate in cultural exchange and their artwork fills the space between them. A space that is usually filled with fear, discrimination, and economic disparity. The artist, Sarah Budeski, will be presenting the project she oversaw on location in Dembayara and Bozeman at the gallery, April 9th-13th. The closing reception will take place April 13th from 5:30-7:30.
“Same, Same, Different” is a three part show. It foremost includes the children’s project, “Authentic Me” a mixed media installation of relief prints and photography. She will also be showing “Expectation / Realization”, a body of work created by the artist, Sarah Budeski, inspired by her own experience crossing cultural and geographical borders. Lastly, she will present “The Vehicle” a inside look at the budding nonprofit organization that made the project possible.
Two groups of children participated in the project “Authentic Me”. One group from Dembayara a rural village in the high desert region of Guinea in West Africa, and the second from Bozeman, Montana, a mountain town in the Northwest United States - two vastly different places both geographically and culturally, yet both rich in their own unique ways. All of the materials used to make the relief prints were locally sourced. Sarah used these local resources as a way to talk about person and place, and how our homes influence our authentic self.
Engaging with subjects as artists allows them to claim their own image. This project works to give ownership of cultural and personal identity back to the subject and to break conventional ideas of portraiture. Children were empowered to show their authentic existence and innate right to human dignity by making relief prints (non-representational self-portraits) and documenting their lives through simple photography.
By placing this conversation in the hands of children, Sarah received a honest representation of the participants reality through their own eyes. Sarah desired to remove the bias that often plagues the photography of different cultures by foreign artists. This bias often manifests as a removed viewpoint instead of an authentic local perspective. When we remove this bias we are more accurately able to understand and empathize with each other. This project is about separation, it is about privilege, poverty, power and race - but it is also about love, family, and connectedness. A paradox that ultimately explains many corruptions of the world: misunderstanding of that which is different. Budeski says these differences can help us to come together, or divide us. It is our choice.
Proceeds from the artists work will go to the nonprofit Guinea Exchange in full.
About the Artist: Sarah Budeski is a second year Studio Art major at Montana State University. She enjoys both drawing and printmaking as her primary medium. Sarah has had a passion for West African culture ever since she started drumming in Bozeman with West African drum teacher, Chet Leach, at the age of seven. Sarah recently travelled to Guinea with project assistant, Kendall Levinson, to partake in drum and dance classes, continue work with Guinea Exchange, and complete the project “Same, Same, Different”. Sarah hopes to continue working on projects like this and sharing the authentic and beautiful identities of people across cultures and how we can affect and help each other in positive ways.
For more information contact Sarah Budeski, firstname.lastname@example.org, 406-600-5711.