March 19, 2008 marks the 5th year anniversary of the Iraq War. Palestinians have been refugees both inside and outside of Palestine for over 50 years. To bring attention and raise funds for Iraqi and Palestinian refugees, Kloie Picot, a photojournalist and filmmaker who has lived in the Middle East for 6 years, and a group of friends in Zhongli have organized “Hidden in Plain Sight” Event and Photo Exhibition at the River Bar and Gallery in Zhongli, Taiwan.
Opening night March 15th at 9pm will begin a silent auction sale of limited edition photographs by internationally-renowned photojournalists such as Lisa Hogben, David Bathgate, Laura El-Tantawy, Katharina Hesse, Susetta Bozzi, James Chance and others. The photographs will be on display for 2 weeks from March 15-29th. Entertainment for the opening night begins at 10pm with Tyler Daiken a member of The Anglers, Hip Hop bands; Foreign Affairs and T.H.C., Comedians Kurt Penney, Matt Goding, and Thomas Levene, as well as a performance by the Asmah Belly Dancers from Taipei.
Upstairs in the restaurant will be Picot's own documentary, “Shots That Bind, Palestinian photojournalists in Nablus,” as well as documentaries about life in Iraq before and after the war began. Also on opening night a raffle will be held with prizes ranging from art work from local artists, Ulead software, MP3-4 players, a chance to participate in a photo workshop by Kloie who will share what she learned from her mentors James Nachtwey and David Allan Harvey, and a 80GB iPod classic. Suggested donation entrance fee is 200nt which automatically enters you into the raffle. And rest assured that all the entertainment and drinking will be for Iraqi and Palestinian refugees as Kim from River Bar is donating proceeds from the bar sales on opening night.
Each night leading to the 19th films will be shown at the River Restaurant from 9:30-11:30pm. To observe the 5 years of war in Iraq, on the 19th a candle lighting ceremony will be held with music by the well-known South African musician and composer André van Rensburg. This promises to be a moving experience for all who oppose the war or who simply have something to say about it.
All proceeds from this event will go to CROSSING LINES, which aims to establish a Community Learning Center in the Middle East, with classes and workshops in English, Film, Photography and Fashion Design and eventually music.
Once set up we will be asking volunteers to come and teach and learn about Iraqi and Palestinian life and customs.
“When I tell of my experiences living with and documenting refugees in the Middle East and Afghanistan many people in Taiwan have asked how they can help. I understand that its impossible for people to go there and see the situation for themselves, and also after teaching the male youth how to make documentary film I saw that this gave them a purpose, so rather than join Palestinian factions they joined my workshops. This center for Iraqi and Palestinian refugees will enable refugees to become self-sustaining by offering workshops in English, Film, Photography, and Fashion design from which they will make and sell accessories such as bags with unique Iraqi and Palestinian embrodery. When I told friends in Taiwan and around the world about my project they began offering their talents.” Picot goes on to say, “Everyone wants to help and I guess what I am doing is offering a way to help, even proceeds from the drinks sold at the River on Saturday night, will go directly to helping to Iraqi and Palestinian Refugees, so by having a good time in Taiwan, we can help refugees.”
(btw...Should you have any ideas and/or questions, please feel free to contact Kloie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org