Terry Tempest Williams & Fazal Sheikh, The Moon Is Behind Us
Date, Time & Location
About the Event
This event will take place on Zoom only, please register here.
You can order The Moon is Behind Us here
In the summer of 2020, their collaboration suddenly halted by COVID-19, photographer Fazal Sheikh (born 1965) and writer, educator and activist Terry Tempest Williams (born 1955) found themselves 5,000 miles apart, Sheikh in Zurich, Switzerland, Tempest Williams in Castle Valley, Utah. Like so many others, they communicated across the days and nights by text and email, reflecting on the state of politics as the pandemic spread across the world. Looking back over his work, Sheikh decided to make a gift for Tempest Williams as a gesture of friendship and respect in troubled times. He selected 30 images, one for each year of his life as an artist, corresponding to one complete cycle of the moon. Some weeks later, a package arrived in Zurich. Inside were 30 letters from Tempest Williams, each responding to a single image, written across 30 days, another lunar cycle. Studying the images had led her to wider, more philosophical considerations of the ways they connected to contemporary events: climate change, the rise of Black Lives Matter, the advances of women and--the focus of her work with Sheikh--their alliance with Native Nations in the American southwest supporting Bear Ears National Monument and the protection of these sacred lands. The spontaneous nature of the correspondence in the middle of the pandemic made it all the more immediate, and when images and words were placed together, both artists where surprised by the intimacy of what they created in isolation. They felt it could be an offering to others who shared their concerns and might find comfort in the exchanges. This book is the result of a friendship forged through art and their shared desire to collaborate on issues larger than themselves in a world broken and beautiful.
About the Authors
Terry Tempest Williams has been called "a citizen writer," a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. Williams, like her writing, cannot be categorized. She has testified before Congress on women’s health issues, been a guest at the White House, has camped in the remote regions of Utah and Alaska wildernesses and worked as "a barefoot artist" in Rwanda. You can find more information on Terry here.
Fazal Sheikh is an artist who uses photographs to document people displaced and marginalized communities around the world. His principle medium is the portrait, although his work also includes personal narratives, found photographs, archival material, sound, and his own written texts.
He works from the conviction that a portrait is, as far as possible, an act of mutual engagement, and only through a long-term commitment to a place and to a community can a meaningful series of photographs be made. His overall aim is to contribute to a broader understanding of these groups, to respect them as individuals and to counter the ignorance and prejudice that often attaches to them. You can find more information on Fazal here.