The Kneeling Art Photography
About the book and the workshops
A book of photography and personal testimonies of the Mainers on their relationship to social justice, isn't it a nice idea? "Taking a Knee for Change" is a book publishing project featuring photographs (taken months after the murder of George Floyd by 10 Maine photographers) of white, black and other people of color, students, business owners, workers, artists, retirees, doctors, activists, immigrants and LGBTQ people who live in Maine and work to end racism and achieve social justice locally and nationally. The book will combine both photographs of the Mainers taking a knee and interviews about their personal relationship and experience with social justice.
My idea for this project arose from a simple question: “What does it mean to take a knee?” Soon after fleeing my home country of Gabon for asylum in Portland in 2015, I saw a man get down on bent knee to propose marriage to his girlfriend. Bubbling up from deep in my soul was a question – this gesture that the American culture uses as a powerful expression of love, how could it also be used as a weapon? We all know that George Floyd was killed when the police officer put his knee on his neck. I couldn't understand how these images – kneeling for love, kneeling for murder, and kneeling for protest – could coexist.
The three main goals that we want to explore through the "Taking a Knee for Change" book and our workshops in schools, institutions and other venues are:
- How human values can be strengthened through humanistic and social action in Maine communities in response to local issues of racism and injustice.
- How to promote and intensify the tradition of solidarity that exists in Maine through the commitment of communities for justice and equality alongside minorities.
- How to highlight inspiring stories of commitment to justice and equality from Mainers to serve as role models of leadership and civic engagement that contemporary and future generations can relate to.
The audiences we are targeting in our project are Maine residents who want to bring about change through social action and civic engagement, activists and organizations advocating for justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, students, readers and Maine political institutions.
We are very happy to see beautiful energies following one another and mobilizing around this work of conception and publication of the book. This enthusiasm and the support of the community is a powerful leitmotif that pushes us so far to overcome the many challenges we encounter along the way.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the team that is working hard to bring Maine communities a high-quality coffee table book that educates, challenges viewpoints and promotes tolerance. A book that will inspire people to move from thought to action, to self-activism, to feeling compassion and to committing to justice and equality alongside minorities.
Our beautiful team is composed of Mark Evan Chimsky, Christine Sullivan, Morgana Warner, Jacqui Deveneu, Susan deGranpre, Randy Shaeffer, Rose Barboza, Stephanie Natale, Shiva Darbani, Kirsten Fisher Price, John Ripton, Cayce Anne Parker, Haley Malm, Heather Anne and Dave Wade.
We have successfully completed the first step, which consists of having the photos that will be part of the book selected by a rigorous and professional team set up by Creative Portland, to whom we express our gratitude.
We have also successfully completed the second step of collecting interviews, transcripts and edits.
“Support for Taking A Knee For Change is provided by the American Rescue Plan Maine Project Grants, a subgrantingprogram administered by SPACE Gallery for the National Endowment for the Arts.”
Titi de Baccarat
Kirsten Fisher Price
Cayce Anne Parker
Book cover design
The "Taking a Knee for Change" book publishing project is part of a larger project called "The Kneeling Art Photography Project" which has 5 branches:
- Photographic exhibitions and round tables entitled "The Kneeling Art Photography Project"
- Publication of the book "Taking a Knee for Change" and workshops on civic engagement
- Design and imagination workshop for the creation of a superhero character that will later be the subject of a graphic novel entitled: "Take a knee with the Superhero."
- Creation of an online laboratory for the development and exploration of new concepts and strategies to end injustices in the state of Maine using art as a tool for awareness and change.
- Giving voice to both the marginalized and the privileged
Workshop "Taking a Knee for Change" 2023
We believe empowerment begins with conversation
Taking A Knee With The Superhero
This graphic novel will be both the collective artistic expression and the social response of the participants to the injustices and inequalities of our current society.
Taking A Knee For Change
Phone: (207) 602 9205
Mark Evan Chimsky
Titi de Baccarat