Phoenix Rising: Models of Grief, Growth, and Action
“The Egyptian phoenix was said to be as large as an eagle, with brilliant scarlet and gold plumage and a melodious cry… As its end approached, the phoenix fashioned a nest of aromatic boughs and spices, set it on fire, and was consumed in the flames. From the pyre miraculously sprang a new phoenix.”
In conjunction with Reimagine’s Fall 2021 season “Grief, Growth, and Action”, Phoenix Rising explores opportunities to emerge from the ashes and transform from the source of our loss. Guest speakers from diverse fields such as psychology, art, and activism will address the scientific phenomenon of trauma-related growth in conversations and workshops. The series will shed light on how some people can actually flourish through and from a difficult experience. Perhaps our transformations won’t be as dramatic as the death and rebirth of the mythical phoenix, but we all have the capacity to take small, sweet steps towards growth and action.
This session features Kondwani Fidel, Ashley Minner, and Peter Bruun: three writers and artists who shape stories from their own hardships, and in doing so find healing and growth. Whether made as a creative person or experienced as an audience member, art has the power to name our gloom, express our suffering, and excavate our anguish.
Peter Bruun is an artist, educator, curator, and community activist in the arts. Bruun received a BA in Art History from Williams College in 1985 and went on to receive an MFA in 1989 from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He remained in Maryland until 2019, where he pursued curatorial and community activism with initiatives such as the New Day Campaign and Art on Purpose, and continued his studio practice with such projects as Autumn Leaves and Beyond Beautiful: One Thousand Love Letters. In 2019, he moved to Maine, where he continues to work as an artist.
Kondwani Fidel, has used the power of storytelling to confront education reform and civil rights all over the world. He was recently featured on The Tamron Hall Show where he discussed his work and life story. Fidel was honored in the "Best of Baltimore" issue of the Baltimore Sun for his courage, innovative thinking, and leadership in local schools and communities. Fidel is the author of The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation about Race and Take Action, Hummingbirds in the Trenches and Raw Wounds. He received his BA in English from Virginia State University, and his MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. Fidel is currently a Professor at Coppin State University. He is from and based in Baltimore City.
Ashley Minner is a community based visual artist from Baltimore, Maryland and an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. She earned her MFA (’11) and MA (’07) in Community Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art and her PhD (’20) in American Studies from University of Maryland College Park. Ashley currently works as Assistant Curator for History and Culture at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.