THE CEDAR TREE PROJECT (2018-2019)
An expansion of Sharon's Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree solo performance/installation project in 2017, throughout the 2018-2019 season, The Cedar Tree Project explores cultural heritage, perceptions, and identity through the lens of Arab and Arab-American artists. Curated by Winona dance/visual artist Sharon Mansur, events include performances, exhibitions, workshops and community gatherings with Sharon and visiting artists.
In 2016 Lebanese photographer Fadi BouKaram quit his job, came to the U.S., and rented an RV. He spent five months on the road visiting 47 towns with the same name as his country. He was seeking a Lebanon without war. He also discovered the heart of rural America. Fadi returned this year to plant “cedars of Lebanon” as gestures of unofficial diplomacy and cross-cultural goodwill. His Winona residency this fall is a stop during this second U.S. road trip, invited by Winona dance/visual artist Sharon Mansur to participate in her Cedar Tree Project.
Fadi BouKaram is a Lebanese photographer, whose work has been featured in various news media such as CNN, Foreign Policy Magazine, BBC and Courrier International. He is the co-founder of the international street photography collective Observe, and has exhibited both solo and with the collective worldwide. He is also working on his first photography book. In 2016, he spent five months on the road during the US presidential election, visiting and documenting all the towns called "Lebanon" across America. He is currently undertaking his second US road trip, including return visits to several Lebanons to plant “cedar of Lebanon” saplings as a gesture of unofficial diplomacy and cross-cultural goodwill.
LEBANON, USA PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
View photographs from Lebanon, USA, including images from his latest trip, at Outpost Winona September 6- 23, then the Page Theatre’s Ben Miller Lobby September 26-October 26.
LEBANON, USA GUEST ARTIST RESIDENCY WITH FADI BOUKARAM
September 23-October 2, 2018
Outpost Winona Community Meal
September 23 • 6pm, Outpost Winona
Join Fadi BouKaram and Sharon Mansur for a meal of Middle Eastern food and conversation before Lebanon, USA transitions to the Page.
Street Photography Workshop
September 24 and October 1 • 5:30-6:30pm, Winona City Hall
Registration required - space is limited!
Short description: This two-part workshop will introduce the basics and history of street photography followed by hands-on lessons. Participants will use techniques learned to shoot subjects of their choosing, then share and discuss their work.
A Page in History: Cedars of Lebanon
September 25 • 12-1pm, Winona County History Center
Fadi BouKaram discusses the 1955 trip of seven mayors from American Lebanons to Beirut to commemorate the centennial of the first wave of Lebanese immigration to the United States. Only six returned. Was the trip really an unsanctioned spy operation?
Fadi BouKaram Artist Talk
October 2 • 12:15pm, Page Theatre
Fadi BouKaram discusses Lebanon, USA and his exploration of small town America, including the photographs, the journey, and the friends he made along the way.
Lebanon, USA Page Theatre Opening
Panel Discussion: 5:30pm, Figliulo Recital Hall
Artist Reception: 6:30pm, Ben Miller Lobby
Fadi BouKaram and Sharon Mansur discuss how cultural identity influences their artistic practice. Following the discussion, enjoy refreshments, meet the artists, and view Lebanon, USA in the Ben Miller Lobby.
CEDAR TREE PROJECT EVENTS 2019
Za’atar: Leyya Tawil, Leila Awadallah, and Sharon Mansur
Friday, January 18 at 7:30pm
Valencia Arts Center, Winona
Named for a blend of Middle Eastern spices, Za’atar is an evening of performance featuring three dynamic, female, Arab American, contemporary performing artists: Leila Awadallah (Twin Cities), Sharon Mansur (Winona), and Leyya Tawil (San Francisco). Za’atar addresses distinct aspects of Arab culture and identity, drawing from Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese heritages.
Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree 2.0
Wednesday, April 24 and Thursday, April 25 at 7:30pm
St. Mary’s University Page Theatre, Winona
Dance performance, visual installation, meal and discussion with a Middle Eastern flavor
concept, direction and performance by Sharon Mansur, with contributing artists
April 24 and April 25 at 7:30pm, St. Mary’s University Page Theatre, Winona
DUCT 2.0 invites you to share art, food, and conversation with a Middle Eastern flavor, reflecting on Sharon Mansur’s Lebanese heritage, the complex and fluid nature of cultural identity, and the power of place in our dreams. A reimagined version of the original event that premiered in fall 2017 at Outpost Winona, Cedar Tree 2.0 integrates Mansur’s experiences during her first trip to Lebanon in spring 2018, and responds to the Page Theatre as a site-specific venue. This immersive event will feature solo dance performance by Mansur, visual elements contributed by a variety of artists and Mansur family members, Middle Eastern food, and an open discussion with audience members.
Audience quote from last year’s Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree:
“Sharon has given the community here a gift. It is precious. A glimpse of herself and how her cultural experience has been part of her. How sense of place and people, heart and physical being, filled with spirit and wonder—how this makes us who we are. Our dreams and stories are who we are."
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.