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Lynnette Overby (center) and UD undergraduate Rachel Austin (left) speak with Colleen Leda and her son Jahnae Leda about the photos they've taken in their community.
The music and poetry have been written,
the history studied, works of art painted, dances choreographed and
months of rehearsals completed — all in preparation for a series of
performances of “Same Story” Different Countries, a project exploring racial issues in the U.S. and South Africa through the arts.
But another part of the multidisciplinary project is still wrapping
up, as a dozen or so Wilmington, Delaware, residents work to share their
photographs and stories about their community.
Some of those volunteers met Thursday, Feb. 25, at the downtown
Christina Cultural Arts Center (CCAC), one of the University of
Delaware’s partners in the project, to continue their work that will be
exhibited at the final performance of “Same Story,” scheduled for March 13 at the Baby Grand in Wilmington.
The Leda family, who joined the project because 12-year-old Jahnae
already enjoyed photography, reviewed the images they’ve taken around
Delaware’s largest city. Jahnae showed his photos of birds and
squirrels, describing the feeling of those images as “peaceful,” while
his parents, Colleen and Jahtenny Leda, focused more on people,
buildings and industrial scenes.
Jahtenny Leda, a longshoreman at the Port of Wilmington, has taken
photos along the city’s waterways, showing not only the redeveloped
recreational Riverfront area but also some long-closed manufacturing
sites and an area where homeless people gather.
“I like the idea of taking pictures of a neighborhood,” said Colleen
Leda, “because if you go back and look at them in 10 years, you know it
will have changed. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for 14 years, and I’ve
seen it change a lot.”
For Kim Graham, a lifelong Wilmington resident who is a director at
CCAC and a 1987 UD graduate, her purpose in taking photos for the
project is to create thought-provoking images. She has photographed
commercial buildings along Market Street, for example, showing the
ground-floor modern retail spaces in contrast to the more old-fashioned
upper stories that often reflect the building’s history.
One of Graham’s favorite photos for the project is a view outside
Wilmington’s Louis L. Redding City-County Building that includes a
statue of Redding. The civil rights pioneer, Delaware’s first African
American lawyer, argued for school desegregation in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Graham’s photos of the Redding statue include a large clock and a
“Don’t Walk” traffic signal in the foreground, which might make people
think, she said, about whether progress has halted, or if time is
running out, in the struggle for civil rights and equal education.
The volunteers all shared their photos and also told their stories
about taking them at the CCAC workshop. UD student research assistant
Rachel Austin and adjunct faculty member A.T. Moffett joined Lynnette
Overby, professor of theatre and an artistic director for the “Same
Story” project, in interviewing the participants and recording their
For more about “Same Story” Different Countries, see the previous UDaily article.
March 4-5: Dance minor concert
Campus performances of“Same Story” Different Countries will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, as this year’s Dance Minor spring concert, in Mitchell Hall.
On Friday, March 11, lecture-demonstrations will be held at 9:30 a.m.
and noon, followed by an evening performance with other South African
artists, all at the Schwartz Theatre in Dover, Delaware.
On Saturday, March 12, a 5:30 p.m. performance will be held in
Mitchell Hall, as part of the Master Players world music concert
featuring 6ixwire, in collaboration with the "Same Story" project.
A final performance will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, in
the Baby Grand, Wilmington, where the community volunteers’ photos and
stories will be on exhibit.
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