in 1991 the first Gulf War instigated the creation of an organization in portland, oregon called ALANA: Asians, Latinos, Native Americans and African Americans for Peace and Justice. in 1992 ALANA organized a mural project called WE SPEAK presenting a minority view of the Columbus Quincentenary being celebrated that year across the nation.
i was a participant and painted one of the thirteen 5'5" x 5'5" panels on racism and an alternative view to the Columbus Discovered America theme. my panel naturally centered on my being an Arab-American and the issues i was aware of from my experience and perspective as an active member of the ADC (Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee) portland chapter. this was 9 years before 9/11 and the second Gulf war.
since January 2012 my panel has been on exhibition in LA at AFSC's gallery in the art district of downtown LA. it is a part of their show free your mind, awaken your spirit, and will be on display through the end of March, when it's returning to join the other panels to be exhibited in the Columbia River gorge. more about that when i have more details.
being in the presence of the WE SPEAK murals last june for the first time in almost twenty years gave me the goosebumps. the issues presented by the many artists representing various cultures are still relevant today. WE SPEAK is still speaking truth to power.