Shipping & Receiving: Photographs and Letters between Venice, CA and Dupree, SD will be presented at the Venice Arts Gallery beginning Saturday, Aug. 6 through Sept. 30.
The exhibition highlights a photographic and personal storytelling exchange between youth in Venice and youth on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. An opening reception is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Venice Arts Gallery, 1702 Lincoln Blvd., Venice.
Featured in the exhibit are texts and panoramic, collaborative double-exposure photographs, paired with over 30 black-and-white and color photographs taken by youths who have participated inVenice Arts’ My Viewpoint Photography Program since its inception in 2005. This is the first public exhibition of their work.
Award-winning photographer Emily Schiffer, founder of the My Viewpoint Photography Program, will accompany five of the students from the Cheyenne River Reservation to Los Angeles for the exhibition.
“This exchange and exhibition has helped our students to view their artwork within a larger context,” she said. “The students who participated in the exchange have been studying photography for years, but this project enabled them to really look at their lives, identify what is important to them, and turn that reflection into photographs.”
Twenty-two youths aged 12 to 21 from the Art Mentoring Program in Venice and the My Viewpoint Photography Program in Dupree, SD communicated with each other through photographs and letters over 2010 and 2011. Using 35-millimeter cameras and black-and-white film, the students took photographs documenting their lives and surroundings, then shipped the film across the country to one another, to be exposed again in the cameras of their peers for the collaborative.
This process is known as double exposure and yields unpredictable and surprising results that emerge only after the film is processed, a Venice Arts spokesperson explains. Some of the image creations include horses on the Midwestern prairie running through fields of California roses, and snow-covered houses and winter-bare tree branches merging with ocean-drenched beaches.
The students also sent letters sharing information about their lives and learning about those of their peers across the country. By writing back and forth, the youths were able to bond over the similarities they found in the fundamental challenges and aspirations in their lives, the Venice Arts spokesperson said.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a limited-edition, book publication, available for sale at the opening reception. Proceeds will benefit Venice Arts and My Viewpoint.
The show will be accompanied by a public program from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, including the premiere of the documentary film “We Win or We Die,” which explores the first days of the Libyan uprising, and a talk with filmmaker Matthew Millan.
Venice Arts Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and by appointment.
Information, (310) 392-0846, or www.venice-arts.org.