Art of Compassion

About two years ago, at the end of my college carreer when I was studying photography I created and currated an exhibition as part of my senior project. The exhibition was titled "Hello, my name is". I photographed three friends of mine with physical differences, I zeroed in on the beauty of their imperfections and glorified their beauty as a whole person. The photographs were large prints, about 12X16 in size, they had no title, but instead a quote about differences, about beauty and about inclusion. When the closing of the exhibition came, visitors took time to look at each photograph and read each quote and they asked questions about each person in the image and their story... questions that they would generally not ask to that person face to face but could, and should. 

When I was a child and I was starred at because I looked different since I was born with a cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial differences, my mother would always say, "take a picture, it lasts longer".  People starred at these photographs in awe, in curiosity, in pause, the same way we stare at differences all around us. After talking about the images and the people in them and meeting some of those wonderful people at the show, it became clear to me that this was much larger than one exhibition. Conversations about differences needed to happen at a young age, with parents, with teachers. If not for what I went through as a child and much like friends of mine, but for children and adults today. We are living in a powerful, impactful, revolutionary time. Through this photography exhibition and through my experiences, Art of Compassion was born and with the help of the JCC PresenTense Chicago fellowship, it only grew bigger and better. Today is just the begining.