Oregon picks from Sam Wrigglesworth

Cliff Notes

Each week, our regional Cliff Notes columnists Mariah Green, Vanessa Perez Winder, Jas Keimig, and Sam Wrigglesworth pick the most exciting events and exhibitions on the West Coast.

Interlaced Communities: The Language of Palestinian Embroidery with Wafa Ghnaim
Textile Hive
133 Southwest 2nd Avenue Suite 203 Portland, OR 97204
October 28, 2023, 12 to 4pm

This Saturday afternoon, as a part of Portland Textile Month please come to this free workshop and lecture from Palestinian researcher, author, and teacher Wafa Ghnaim. The event will begin with Ghnaim sharing a lecture on storytelling on Palestinian embroidery from the late 19th through early 20th centuries. After the presentation, participants will learn Palestinian Fellahi embroidery techniques and share in a stitching circle. Palestinian textiles from Ghnaim’s personal collection, as well as historic textiles from the Andrea Aranow collection, will further enrich this community gathering.

Reflection question: Do you find opportunities to connect across generations through cloth and skill-sharing in your personal lineage? In what ways?

Sewn Threads, Cut Threads
SWANA Rose Culture & Community Center
2942 NE MLK Jr. Boulevard, Portland, OR 97212
October 22, 2023 to November 13, 2023
Open Hours: Sundays 1-5pm and Mondays 2-6pm

The SWANA Rose Culture + Community Center is a volunteer-run space that opened just last month prioritizing those with Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) descent. This umbrella group expanded out of the Center for the Study and Preservation of Palestine (CSPP), which opened in 2020. While they host a range of events, their current art exhibition grows out of their monthly SWANA Stitch gathering that brings locals together to practice their craft.

Sewn Threads, Cut Threads presents a wide array of artistic disciplines including writing, multimedia, propaganda, and multidisciplinary work. Regional work includes Palestinian Tatreez, Egyptian Khayamiya applique, and Armenian Janyak needle lace.

For which I am grateful, the SWANA Rose Culture + Community Center is continuing to prioritize community care by requiring masks at all public events.

Reflection question: What communal activities assist you in acts of resistance or refusal?

Work by Jenn Sova, Curated with Jodi Darby
Paragon Arts Gallery, 815 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217
October 4, 2023 to November 4, 2023
Gallery Hours: Wednesdays – Fridays, 12-7pm, Saturdays, 12-5pm
Reading on Thursday, November 2nd, 6:30-8pm

“Do a volcano…Document over a long period of time the eruption of the figure…Make a figure so that it shines like when water runs down a mountainside.”

This quote from Ana Mendieta, which has long been inscribed in all capital letters on the cover of my most precious journal, sets the stage for Volcano—a new installation by Jenn Sova at Paragon Arts Gallery.

In this exhibition, Sova investigates violence, survival and rage through weaving together research surrounding four women: Ana Mendieta, Aileen Wuornos, Anita Hill, and Joan of Arc. A community reading event on Thursday, November 2 will bring together more written works on themes of gendered violence, femicide, survival, intersectional feminism, and healing.

Reflection question: In what ways do you author the documentation of your own life?

Six Films For Palestine: Solidarity Screening + Fundraiser
Other Cinemas, Online
October 19, 2023 to November 22, 2023
Ticket Sales end November 18th

Other Cinemas is a London-based project organized by filmmakers Turab Shah and Arwa Aburawa centered around “making and sharing films by and for Black and non-white communities” through free neighborhood screenings and education. While I normally share about Oregon programming, this important event is accessible online anywhere you are.

Six Films For Palestine is an online solidarity fundraiser for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. These six films from Palestinian filmmakers explore impacts of Israeli occupation spanning from 1974 through the present. Pay-what-you-can donations will be split evenly between Medical Aid Palestine and Arwa Aburawa’s relatives in Gaza.

Reflection question: After viewing one or all of these films, what parallels can you make between constructions of “Israel” and the “United States”?

A final note from Sam:

All of these art programs in some way are contending with struggles over dominant narratives and sustaining collective memory in face of violent erasures. It is important to recognize that consumption of art does not exist in a vacuum and that all oppression is interconnected.

As the United States-funded genocide in Gaza is amplified and ongoing, we must keep up momentum to demand immediate ceasefire in Gaza over the phone and in the streets. Shamefully, as I sit writing on October 23, 2023 no Oregon congressional representatives have called for a ceasefire and all are complicit in a holocaust.
Protect our youth by demanding that Portland Public Schools act in accordance with their own commitment to racial equity and address their previous Zionist statements promoting selective empathy by emailing their board.  If applicable, put on the pressure at your own institution to publicly condemn genocide by Israel. This silence is deafening and will be remembered.

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